1979 and 1980 two students traveled to Iran to save the children during
the uprising of Ayatollah Khomeini's followers over the Shah's government,
causing chaos, during which many took advantage to let their hatred of
Jews be exercised. The children were brought from Iran to New York (through
Italy). This is a news clip that appeared during the operation, describing
their absorption in New York (June 1st 1979).
The absorption of 630 Iranian students, since the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini by the Chabad Lubavitch program in N.Y. Was told by Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, who is in charge of the program.
Rabbi Hecht, called the task the challenge of his life.
"WINNING THEIR confidence was the most difficult thing." said the rabbi. "We greeted them. Fed them, made plans to educate them and they wouldn't even trust us with their money in the beginning. They wouldn't hand over their suitcases to anyone and they barely trusted each other."
The nearly impossible process of winning the students' confidence was accomplished partly through the use of a student representative system in which six of the students attended meetings with the teachers and guardians and discussed their grievances.
THE STUDENTS, who in the beginning were actually stealing from each other, were eventually taught to respect each other's property and that there are Jews in this country who were looking out for their best interests.
Rabbi Hecht issued a harsh criticism at the "establishment" Jewish organizations who he said, refused to respond to the call for these kids. "ALL THE major Jewish organizations have been contacted on this' matter and not one has responded with any positive action." the rabbi said. "No money has come forth."
A vivacious orator, Rabbi Hecht and his wife spoke of the joy". When the students finally learned that they were in good hands and one of the children looked up at Rebbetzin Hecht and said "You like mother."
MOST OF the students are now being housed in a converted hospital in East Flatbush. They conducted their first Seder during this last Passover and it was attended by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. They had a Voluntary fast day after the execution of the leading Iran Jew Habib Elghanian.
heard all the excuses" said Rabbi Hecht, And we all know all the
logical reasons why it would better if we didn't help them. But when it
comes down to it, we still have to serve 1800 meals a day and we need
help in providing for this.
|In Iran, with the families of the children|
|In Italy, representatives of the children at the U. S. Consulate, to receive visas to enter the United States|
|In New York on their first trip to "the big city" Manhattan|