Soviet Jews Thank Reagan

A group of former Soviet Jewish refuseniks presented President Reagan with a Passover Haggadah on Tuesday, in appreciation of “his extraordinary efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry.”

Herman Branover, a professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and chairman of Shamir, the association of Jewish religious professionals from the Soviet Union, told reporters after the brief Oval Office ceremony that the Haggadah was an appropriate gift to Reagan.

“The story of the Exodus from Egypt resembles very much the exodus from the Soviet Union,” Branover said.

Natan Sharansky said that his emigration and that of other longtime refuseniks was made possible by “the strong position this administration took in the quest for the struggle of human rights.”

Sharansky stressed that the struggle is not over and expressed the hope that Reagan’s successor will continue this support.

Branover, Sharnsky, and two other former Soviet Jews, Yosef Begun and Rabbi Yitzhak Kogan, arrived from Israel earlier in the day to participate in the presentation.

They were accompanied by Morris Abram, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, and several supporters of Shamir. The Haggadah was created by the Israeli artist Yaakov Agam, who was present.

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