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Argentina’s President Did Not Adopt Jewish Child At Risk of Becoming a Werewolf

We live in a cruel, cruel, misreported world. Read More

By / December 31, 2014

Call the caterers: there will be no werewolf bar mitzvah.

That crazy story about Argentina’s president Cristina Kirchner adopting a Jewish boy so that he wouldn’t turn into a werewolf? A total bubbe-meyse, alas. (But how we wish it were true.) Thanks to the magic of the internet and some trigger-happy “reporting,” two stories—one real, one fantastical—got conflated into an epic, Buzzfeed-worthy narrative, which then got picked up by multiple media outlets.

The Guardian explains the real story behind the improbable tale:

Like all good urban myths, the articles were based on a grain of truth: by tradition, the seventh son (or daughter) born to an Argentine family is eligible to become the godson (or daughter) of the president. Until this month, the honour had only been bestowed on Christian babies, but on Wednesday, Iair Tawil—not a baby, but the strapping 21-year old son of a rabbi—became the country’s first Jewish presidential godson.

But somehow, the story became entangled with the ancient legend of the lobizón (Argentina’s equivalent to the European werewolf). According to some versions of the myth, the seventh son of the seventh son is particularly prone to fall victim to the curse.

… But according to Argentine historian Daniel Balmaceda, there is no link between the two traditions. “The local myth of the lobizón is not in any way connected to the custom that began over 100 years ago by which every seventh son (or seventh daughter) born in Argentina becomes godchild to the president,” he said.

So, there you have it, folks. A Jewish boy, a President, some Hanukkah candles, and a feel-good photo opportunity—but no werewolves. Nevertheless—mazal tov, Iair!

(Image: Cristina Kirchner, Twitter)