July 20, 2008
Thirty glorious years
When I was a child I asked my parents "what was the first thing you saw when you arrived in America?" I imagined it would be the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. Perhaps the New York skyline coming into view as their ship sailed through the mist of the Hudson river. What? There's always mist in the movies.
"JFK airport" came the reply.
Not exactly the romantic image I had pictured.
Before we arrived in the US, many Soviet Jews had first stopped in Italy. We spent three months in Ladispoli, near Rome. From Wikipedia:
Since the Soviet Union and Israel did not have diplomatic relations, Italy agreed to serve as a staging ground for Jewish refugees to Israel from the Soviet Union. Upon entering Italy, refugees would file a petition with the Israeli consulate and await approval. Many Jews took advantage of this opportunity to petition the U.S. consulate for asylum to let them enter the United States on religious persecution grounds.
We left Italy on July 20, 1978, 30 years ago today. By coincidence, I took that same path today, the flight from Rome to New York. I loved every second of Italy, and I could not be more appreciative that they let my family through when we so needed it. They have my gratitude and affection. And America, as always, has my love and devotion.
Previous July 20th posts:Posted by Karol at July 20, 2008 09:10 PM | TrackBack
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