Mom Sues Because Boy's Father Doesn't Keep Kosher

Ex-husband says he didn't know feeding his son bacon was wrong.

By Dick Johnson
|  Thursday, Jan 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:43 PM CDT
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A former exotic dancer who has become an observant Hasidic Jew is seeking sole custody of her son because her ex-husband does not keep kosher.

A former exotic dancer who has become an observant Hasidic Jew is seeking sole custody of her son because her ex-husband does not keep kosher.

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A former exotic dancer who's now a devout Hasidic Jew is in Cook County court fighting for sole custody of her 8-year-old son.

At the base of Elina Margolina's argument is that her ex-husband, Nelson Derbigny, violated a prior court custody order to implement Margolina's religious practices in the upbringing of their son. She says that Derbigny has refused to ensure a kosher environment.

Derbigny thinks a restrictive lifestyle hampers his son's ability to be a normal child.

"I'm Catholic," he told reporters. "I certainly want to expose him to that, but it's not a prerequesite that he grow up to be Catholic. It's a prerequesite that he grow up to be happy and healthy and make his own decisions when he's old enough."

While being questioned by Margolina's attorney, David Grund, Derbigny said he didn't know it was against the boy's religious training to feed him bacon.

Margolina and Derbigny met at Admiral Theatre in 1995. She was a dancer, he was a manager. After marrying and having their son, they divorced and moved on.

On Derbigny's way into court on Thursday with his attorney, Joel Brodsky, reporters asked how his son is handling the case.

Derbigny said his son is more interested in the fact that "he is a Packers fan and his team's going to the Super Bowl, and I'm a Bears fan and they aren't."

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