August 12th, 2008

Nice Jewish Boys Behaving Badly

Period/Setting: 1900-1905, a shtetl in the Pale of Settlement (probably Vilna or Volhynia guberniya, but not decided yet)

Searches: none tried

Can anyone suggest a really, really awful prank for a young shtetl boy to pull--something not only naughty, but actually savoring of impiety?

The scenario: The character in question is pretty much the epitome of edelkeit--clever, studious, obedient and dutiful. His father is a minor town official--probably the beadle--a gentle, pious man, not in the best of health, not terribly well-educated; it's the dream of his life to see his son become a rabbi. Sometime between the ages of 12 and 14, the kid goes through a phase of admiring one of the toughest boys in town--the son of the roofer/town drunk--and yearning to be equally cool and badass. The roofer's son won't give him the time of day, but finally dares him to commit The Prank. Our hero pulls it off--and afterward is nearly sick with shame and guilt, not least because everyone assumes that the roofer's son is the culprit. Our hero confesses it, but no one believes him.

Adoption law and criminal punishment in Germany

The story is set in Germany, nowadays. My character is a boy who was adopted by his aunt and uncle when he was four years old. They have a daughter who is nine years older than him. When he's 14, his foster parents die, and the daughter decides to adopt him. Is it possible? She's already 23, but I found on Google that in Germany, people who want to adopt have to be 25 years old. But maybe if they're family, it would be otherwise? The article also said that one could only be 21 to adopt a child when it's their own, or when it's their partner's. There was nothing about cousins. I tried "adoption in Germany", "German adoption" etc, but coudn't find anything more.

My second question is: this girl (now a lawyer) is in fact very violent with him and even tortures him. When he's just turned 17, he flees from home and makes friends who offer him to live and work with them. He stays there for a few months and waits his18 years old so he can be freed from his cousin. But a couple of months before he turns 18, she finds him and wants him back. Is he obliged to go back? He doesn't sue her because he thinks nobody would believe him. As a child, she was always exemplary and loved by everyone. Plus, he's mute (from a trauma, not from birth) and thinks it would be hard to explain his problem, and she terrifies him. So, can she take him home even if he doesn't want to? His friends want to oppose her, but she threatens them by accusing them of kidnapping. One of them knows about the hero's past and doesn't want him to help him, how would he do, although he didn't witness anything? I tried googling "german law" and such, but it's too vague. I don't speak German so I couldn't try finding infos in German :'(

(Sorry about the bad english)