web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » News & Views » US »

Sen. Lautenberg Remembered As ‘Lifesaver’ For Russian Jews

Frank Lautenberg

Frank Lautenberg

Washington – New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg whose signature law facilitated a flood of Soviet Jewish emigration just prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, died Monday morning of viral pneumonia after serving for more than thirty years in Washington.

Those who were closest to the 89-year-old Democrat said the law that had the most meaning for him was the one that bears his name.

The Lautenberg Amendment, passed in 1989 and enacted in 1990, facilitated the emigration of Soviet Jews by relaxing the stringent standards for refugee status, granting immigrant status to those who could show religious persecution in their native lands.

At a tribute in New York to Lautenberg last week hosted by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Lautenberg’s wife, Bonnie, called the amendment his “proudest achievement.” Bonnie Lautenberg accepted the award in his stead because the senator was too ill to attend.

Mark Hetfield, the president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the leading Jewish immigrant advocacy group, said Lautenberg’s final legacy may be making his amendment permanent.

The amendment now requires renewal every year, and at times has been threatened when Congress cannot agree on a budget, as was the case this year.

An amendment authored by Lautenberg to the immigration overhaul now under consideration in Congress would allow the president to fund the Lautenberg provisions without congressional approval. The amendment was part of a package approved last month by the Judiciary Committee, and the odds are that the full bill will pass.

“The law has been a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of people who have fled religious persecution,” Hetfield said.

“When he became involved in electoral Jewish politics, he didn’t forget his Jewish involvement,” said Mark Levin, the director of NCSJ, formerly the National Council of Soviet Jewry. “He became one of the leading advocates for Jews in the Soviet Union.”

Another far-reaching law that bears the name of the New Jersey Democrat passed in 1996, banning the sales of guns to those convicted of domestic violence.

Lautenberg grew up in Paterson, N.J., the son of poor Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia. He liked to say his parents “could not pass on valuables, but left me a legacy of values,” according to a release from his office.

He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War II and then earned a degree in economics at Columbia University through the G.I. Bill. The role of government in giving a poor kid from Paterson a shot at an Ivy League education undergirded Lautenberg’s subsequent commitment to social justice.

He started Automatic Data Processing and built it into the largest data processing firm in the world by 1974, when he became chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. Within a year Lautenberg had increased its charitable intake to the second-highest level in its history — an extraordinary accomplishment at a time when the United States was reeling from the energy crisis.

His business success meant he could pay for much of his Senate run in 1982, when the seat was open because the incumbent Democrat, Harrison Williams, resigned after being implicated in a bribe-taking scandal.

Lautenberg’s opponent, moderate Republican congresswoman Millicent Fenwick, had the backing of the state’s popular GOP governor, Thomas Kean, and was favored to win. But Lautenberg prevailed, 52 percent to 48 percent.

His Senate career was marked both by unflinching liberalism and his reputation for integrity. Lautenberg retired in 2001, but in a replay of his 1982 election, the state party called on him to run in 2002 after the scandal-plagued Robert Torricelli was forced to resign. This time, Lautenberg won handily.

His liberalism was rooted in his hardscrabble youth overshadowed by the death of his father from cancer when he was a boy, according to lifelong friend and fellow Paterson native Stephen Greenberg, now chairman of NCSJ.

“Paterson was the silk center of the world at the time,” Greenberg said. “You had this massive number of Jews from Russia and Poland in that whole area. His father worked in the silk mills, and Frank believed that was the predominant source of his cancer.”

Lautenberg became the Senate’s leading advocate of public safety, writing laws that improved standards for clean coastal waters and tripled liability for oil spills. In 1968 he founded the Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

2 Responses to “Sen. Lautenberg Remembered As ‘Lifesaver’ For Russian Jews”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    Thank you, Senator, for everything. You will be missed.

  2. Alice Lemos says:

    Unfortunately, the late senator supported infanticide (partial birth abortion) and even defended this abhorrent practice on the floor o the Senate. He should not receive a pass on this.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest News Stories
John Kerry

Bibi’s cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, but still considering 12-hour break.

IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, hy'd, who fell in action Sunday, July 20, 2014 with six comrades when his APC was hit by an anti-tank missile fired by terrorists in Gaza. Declared dead Friday, July 25, 2014. May God avenge his blood.

Hamas exploited the fog of war: they did not kidnap Shaul Aron, he was killed in action.

A soldier called up to talk to my 5 year old son…

An Arab driver, driving into a group of Jews at a Gush Etzion bus stop.

An Arab driver swerved into a group of women and girls standing at a Gush Etzion Junction (Tzomet HaGush) bus stop.

1st Sgt. Yair Ashkenazi, Reserves, (36) HY”D, was killed this morning during operations in northern Gaza.

11:45am Rocket alerts, including Tel Aviv and Lod. The smell of a Cease fire is in the air. 11:47am 07-25-2014 Ramla, Lod 11:47am 07-25-2014 Tel Aviv – Yafo , Bat Yam, Bnei Brak / Givaatayim / Petach Tikva, Dan coastal plain, Kiryat Ono, Elad, Rosh Ha’yin, Ramla, Lod, Shoham, Kfar Chabad 11:47am 07-25-2014 Tel Aviv […]

Chabad has provided a list of all the soldiers injured so far in Operation Protective Edge, so you can add them to your prayers.

We’re waiting to hear back if there will be a cease fire this afternoon. The terms grant Hamas political legitimacy.

11:10am Massive number of rocket alerts: 11:10am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Ashkelon 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Ashkelon, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Ashkelon 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Ashkelon, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Zikim […]

The IDF has released a list of senior Gazan terrorists who have been taken out…

Thousands of Israelis in Turkey have been trapped there due to the war with Gaza.

Abbas faces the acid test of his clinging to power, but he is forced himself into a lose-lose-corner.

Golani 12 Platoon commander, Shai Siman-Tov, was seriously injured yesterday,

The IDF has begun to systematically tear apart the roots of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure

Amb. Ron Dermer takes on CNN’s coverage of Hamas, and wins.

Hip Hop musicians create a song and video to express how they feel about the current Arab/Israel war.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Secretary of State Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

“As we have since the beginning of the process, we continue to support Secretary Kerry’s diplomatic efforts to achieve a secure and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said in a statement to JTA.

WASHINGTON – Until recently, the rule of thumb in the pro-Israel community was that the bigger the academic group, the less likely it was to consider a boycott of Israeli colleagues.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/sen-lautenberg-remembered-as-lifesaver-for-russian-jews/2013/06/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: