NEW YORK (Apr. 8)
Leaders of a Hasidic community in Brooklyn who met with President Reagan at the White House, said the President pledged that the United States will continue to welcome Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union and extend refugee status to them.
According to Rabbi Zvi Kestenbaum who participated in the meeting last week, Reagan was responding to Rabbi Hertz Frankel who, in a message on behalf of the Grand Rabbi of Satmar, said the Jewish community was grateful to the President for “reaffirming the basic human rights of Jewish immigrants to be given a free choice to settle in the country of their desire when leaving the Soviet Union.”
EXPRESSION OF APPRECIATION
Frankel said, “We hope that the American government will continue to extend refugee status to all Jewish immigrants leaving the Soviet Union.” Kestenbaum, who is executive director of the Opportunity Development Association (ODA) in Brooklyn, also thanked the President for supporting the recognition of Hasidim as a disadvantaged minority. He said this helps them to participate actively in the American economic mainstream.
Kestenbaum expressed appreciation for the establishment by the President of a Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad of which he is an appointed member. He said the group is helping to protect and preserve the remnants of pre-war Jewish life in Eastern European countries.
Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, son of the Grand Rabbi of Satmar, delivered the invocation which opened the meeting and recited special prayers for the President and the welfare of the nation.