Hias Says Us Doors Open to Soviet Jews

The family reunion that took place last week in Chicago with the arrival of Alexander Grunfeld, his wife, Gani, and his son, Aaron, from the Soviet Union should serve as a reminder that the doors of the United States are now open to Soviet Jews who are able to leave to rejoin relatives, stated Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive vice-president of United Hias Services. He expressed the hope that the Russian authorities will now allow Jews to emigrate in greater numbers.

However, he added, all emigration from Russia, whether to Israel where the majority of Jews who desire to emigrate wish to go, or to the United States or other free lands, is based on the principle of family reunion. This means that the Russian Jew who wishes to apply for an exit permit must have an invitation from a relative-a document called a “Vysov.”

“The bitter lessons from the past must not be repeated,” Jacobson cautioned, adding, “Attorney General John Mitchell’s action in invoking his parole authority places a responsibility on American Jewry to help those who wish to join their families after decades of separation and hardship.” United Hias Service, which assisted the Grunfeld family to come to Chicago, reports that close to 200 Soviet Jews have migrated to our country with HIAS help thus far this year, and that additional family reunions are taking place.

HIAS and its cooperating agencies throughout the country are prepared to help all those wishing to initiate the processing procedure that will lead to family reunion with Soviet relatives. Jacobson indicated that the reunion in Chicago, after 42 years of separation, was an outcome of United Hias’ intensive efforts in cooperation with the Jewish United Fund of Chicago, its executive director, James P. Rice, the HIAS of Chicago and its executive director, John Weiner.

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