American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger Mourns U.S. Representative Tom Lantos

Messinger: Congressman Lantos’s Life Was An Inspiration

New York, NY; February 11, 2008 – Ruth W. Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) today issued the following statement expressing great sadness over the passing of United States Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress and an important figure for the American Jewish community:

“Congressman Lantos’s life was an inspiration to all of us who feel passionately about social justice, and our thoughts today are with his entire family,” Messinger said. “Tom truly epitomized the Jewish commitment to repairing the world.

“Tom came to this country with little, yet he embodied the American ideal that hard work can bring tremendous success. At the same time, he embraced the responsibility bred from success by dedicating his life to serving those around the world who suffer as he once did. In Congress, Tom was a major champion in promoting human rights and fighting poverty across the globe. He was a consistent voice of courage on these issues.

“Specifically, AJWS owes a great deal of gratitude for Tom’s leadership in supporting the struggle for democracy in Burma, advocating for a stronger international response to the genocide in Darfur and serving as a driving force in increasing the resources needed to effectively address the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Words can only scratch the surface of our admiration and appreciation for all Tom has done. His memory will be a blessing; it will occupy a very important place in the hearts of all of us who share his values and strive every day to honor his legacy.”

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