Yesterday, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a story on how many citizens of the city where I was born joined with Massachusetts’ Senator Edward Kennedy to help ensure the immigration in 1978 of a girl suffering from a syndrome which Soviet doctors could not treat in her native Moscow:
Jessica [Katz] was born in 1977 in Moscow with malabsorption syndrome, a disease that prevented her from digesting milk or food. Soviet doctors could not cure the condition, and as their infant daughter grew ever weaker, her parents realized her only hope for survival hinged on treatment in the West.
My family played a small part in helping Jessica through her ordeal, visiting her in Moscow in the summer of 1978. (My Mom is quoted in the article.) The fall after our visit, in large part due to Kennedy’s intervention with Soviet authorities, her family was allowed to leave the Soviet Union where they could build a new life in Boston and she could get treated for her syndrome.
I visited Jessica’s father Boris several times when I was in college. As most Soviet emigrés, he had strong anti-Communist views and great respect for the then-President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan. And though the then-senior Senator from Massachusetts harshly criticized (and actively sought to thwart) the Gipper’s aggressive foreign policy, Boris refused to criticize Kennedy, always recalling how he helped secure his release.
He only had kind words for the late Massachusetts Democrat.
Just a reminder that while we conservatives criticize Kennedy’s many flaws, he did do a great deal of good, a very deal of good, by one family suffering under Soviet Communism. And that should count for something.