A Higher Channel

When my family, the Zobin family tried to come to Canada from Russia they were refused exit visas three times and each time different excuses were given. My aunt in Canada, Rebbetzin Ushpol (Chaikin) asked the Rebbe at Yechidus and at other times what to do and the Rebbe said “Try through higher channels” so she approached Rabbi Kramer for help in this matter. Rabbi Kramer was able to arrange for my aunt to meet with the administrative assistant of Prime Minister Trudeau. My aunt went to Ottawa to plead the case of her brother and his family who were so unfairly denied exit and finally we were notified in Russia that the exit visas were ready if we still wanted them. The official in Russia who relayed the message to us that we were free to go said that never in his 40 years as a top beaurocrat had a decision of his been overturned on order straight from Prime Minister Kosygin. This occured two weeks after the Russian Prime Minister visited Canada and met with the Canadian Prime Minister. At a press conference during this visit, Mr. Kosygin was asked by a journalist why the Russians don’t allow Jews to leave the country. The PM answered that they only refuse people with access to state secrets. The journalist showed the PM the telegram clearly refusing exit visas for the Zobins and stated that they are ordinary workers with no possible access to state secrets. My aunt had well prepared the journalists with the telegram and with the history of the case. Rabbi Kramer had also arranged for my aunt to meet Mr. Jack Teitolman, his good friend and loyal supporter, who owned a French radio station and he and his journalists were very instrumental as well in promoting this cause and were active at the press conference together with English speaking journalists. We were very surprised years later to learn that one of the journalists involved in our case became a ger tzedek (righteous convert) and when he and his wife could not have children, they received a Brocha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to have children.

I remember that soon after we arrived in 1972 Rabbi Kramer’s daughter Sara married Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick and I went to the wedding and for the first time I saw a beautiful openly Chassidishe wedding which was such a wonderful and amazing experience for me. Soon afterwards I met my husband and we too were able to have a wonderful wedding in a free country.