Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Breaking News: Tom Lantos to Retire

Posted by Oyster on January 3, 2008

Tom LantosCongressional Representative Tom Lantos (D), of San Mateo, CA (near San Francisco), Jew & Holocaust survivor, has announced his intention to retire, due to being diagnosed with cancer:

U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the only Holocaust survivor elected to the U.S. Congress, is retiring because he has cancer.

Lantos, one of the most powerful members of Congress and the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Wednesday he will serve out his term, which ends at the close of this year.

“Routine medical tests have revealed that I have cancer of the esophagus,” he said. “In view of this development and the treatment it will require, I will not seek re-election.”

Lantos most recently led the battle to substantially expand sanctions against Iran, a bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House and is under consideration in the Senate. Considered a go-to lawmaker on many Jewish issues, he also is a strong advocate of reaching out to rogue states, even Israel’s most dire enemies. He played a role in swaying Libya to give up its own weapons of mass destruction program in 2003 and has said he is willing to meet Iran’s leadership.

Lantos, who turns 80 next month, was 16 in 1944 when the Nazis invaded his native Hungary. He fought in the anti-Nazi underground and arrived in the United States in 1947. He was an economist and a consultant prior to his 1980 election to represent a San Francisco area district.

“It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress. I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country,” he said.

Refuah shlei’mah, Tom. A complete & speedy recovery. Hat tip to the JTA.


5 Responses to “Breaking News: Tom Lantos to Retire”

  1. Marc LeVine said

    Congressman Lantos:

    I just heard of your medical diagnosis and wanted to reach out to you as a former Esophageal Cancer patient and current three year survivor. My wife and I want to wish you a good fight and a speedy recovery.

    This is a difficult and fearful time for you and your family, but do not think this disease a death sentence. Be aggressive with your treatment and positive with your attitude and you can beat back “the beast.” I need not tell you how to do this as a holocaust survivor.

    In any case, you may wish to seek out the opinion of my crack medical team at the Jay Monahan Center in NY, headed by Dr. Mark Pochapin and featuring one of the nations’s best EC surgeon’s Dr. Nassar Altorki of Weil Cornell – New York Presbyterian. We can praise these Drs enough for the treatment, surgery and care I received that ultimately saved my life. My oncologist was Dr. Allyson Ocean, by the way. Top notch.

    In addition, there is an online support group for EC at http://www.kathyscafe.com and this is connected with the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Assocition, a group that I was a trustee for.

    My struggle with cancer returned me to elected office as a town Councilman (Freehold Borough, NJ). My fight was so inspirational that our Democratic Mayor reached across the aisle and returned a former GOP Councilman to the seat I vacated seven years earlier. You, too, can return to political office and do good for EC awareness, while you benefit your constituency in other ways. Please feel free to contact me, if you need any support in battling this difficult but beatable disease.

    God Bless You.

    Marc LeVine
    Freehold, NJ

  2. Oyster said

    Marc, thank you very much for posting this information for Tom.

    The problem is, I can’t submit this to his online email form, because my address isn’t from within the 12th Congressional District.

    Is there someone out there in the Oy Bay Area that lives there, that can submit a link to this webpage using this email form?



  3. Daffodil said

    I’m also not in the 12th, so I can’t say if my note would
    get through, either…

    If anyone knows Congressman Lantos’ ruf-nomen, could you
    please list it, for those of us who would like to include
    him in a mi-she-berach in our congregation or wherever.

    Also, I would like to advance one other recommendation.

    Looking at Congressman Lantos’ web-page as shown in
    “Oyster”‘s post above (incidentally, is that a typo?
    Shouldn’t it be “Oytser”? But I digress…) I couldn’t
    help but notice that the menu for the subject of the letter
    only includes problems and presumable requests for help.

    (Another digression: In the Haftarah for Parshat Hayyei Sarah,
    Bathsheba approaches the king in his chamber, where he is
    lying ailing, chilly and unable to get warm; suffering all
    the discomforts of his advancing age. So what’s the first
    thing said? Does she ask him how he’s feeling? If she can
    get him a cup of chicken soup or a glass of tea? Some aspirin
    or a warm rubdown? This is, after all, his favorite wife…
    [Okay, there’s Avishag and he’s got a few other attendants,
    but, still, she could ask after his well-being. Certainly
    she would be able to tell that he’s no longer the way he once

    Anyway, what’s the first thing said? He, her more-or-less
    former-or-still-current husband, asks: “What’s troubling you?”

    And she goes right into the answer…

    The point of this digression? Mel Brooks notwithstanding,
    it isn’t always “good to be the king”; after a while you
    come to take it for granted that nobody comes to you with
    an offer of any comfort, but only to ask for what they

    My recommendation is to add to the “Issues” menu an option
    for conveying good wishes. I’m sure I’m not the only one
    who would like a handy way to send some…


  4. Kneidalach said

    my note went through, I hope he’ll get it.

  5. […] Holocaust survivor, and humanitarian, has died today. Presumably from complications surrounding his recently announced diagnosis of esophageal cancer. He was […]

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