Friday, May 16, 2008

Children of Chernobyl Latest Rescue Flight


Academy Award Winning Actor, Jon Voight, traveled halfway around the world, ten hours into the future, and over the roofs of many of our homes to meet Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl’s 80th Rescue Mission on the tarmac of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.

On Monday evening, May 12, 2008, Voight welcomed thirty-six children from Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia, escorting the first young child—a seven-year-old girl—down the steps of the airplane.

“It is truly an amazing experience to see these children—these beautiful children—who we talk about year after year at the Children at Heart dinner disembark the plane,” Voight said. “All of our hard work, our fundraisers, and our efforts pay off when you see the hope restored in a young child’s eyes.”

Eighty children previously evacuated from the Chernobyl region by CCOC, members of the New York CCOC office, and generous CCOC donors joined Jon at the airport to celebrate this momentous flight.

“I am excited to see my friend from home,” a teenage girl said as the flight landed. “I know that Israel will make her feel better. Israel made my headaches go away. But, really, I am most excited to see everybody from the flight—because I know that they will soon be my friends, too, and their pain will go away.”

The children celebrated their arrival with friends and family members they had not seen in months. A woman from Ukraine was reunited with her daughter who had been rescued on CCOC Rescue Flight # 79. Everybody around the mother and daughter watched their reunion in tears of happiness—they remained in each other’s arms for the remainder of the welcoming.

Young boys were lifted into the air and danced around on the shoulders of the teenage boys and young men who came to welcome the flight. Jon was swept up into the celebration as well and the young children laughed in awe as they saw him bouncing around the airport on the shoulders of a young man rescued on a past CCOC flight—a flight that Jon himself helped make possible.

The evening was packed with celebration, high energy, and excitement. Optimism, hope, and opportunity could be felt in the air—but the physical pain in the children could clearly be seen as well. The children have been settled in their new homes in Kfar Chabad and have already started their medical treatment and their roads to recovery.

Jon joined the CCOC executives in Kfar Chabad Thursday afternoon, May 15, 2008, to visit with the 36 children who just arrived on Monday, children from previous CCOC flights, and alumni of the CCOC program. Jon has been in Israel all week as the spokesman for CCOC and has dedicated his entire visit in the country to helping children, listening to their stories, and giving them strength. Please visit our website to read a full account of Jon’s visit and view the photographs from his stay. We will be in touch by email when the account is posted. Thank you for making this rescue flight possible. As Jon said in Hebrew from the tarmac in Ben Gurion Airport… “Atem Giborai”… You Are Heroes.

Have fun! I always do!


No Cash, No ATM, No Credit Card....

What an afternoon I had yesterday.... I took Dylan and Jake into the city for an orthodontist appointment.... On the way into the city I realized I had left my AMEX and Driver's License in my evening bag from the previous night's event... I figured ok.. I have some cash and my ATM card... Then I realized I had also left my ATM card in my evening bag.. OK I have my Visa card... No problems.. We'll go out for dinner after the orthodontist and I will use my VISA... So we go to EJ's and have dinner.. The check comes and I take out my VISA card... The waitress says I'm sorry we only take cash but there is an ATM right over there in the corner... OYYYY I start to get a little panicked... I go over to the ATM and try to get a cash advance on my VISA.. Machine says "Transaction not Allowed"... I didn't want to alarm the boys at all... I went back to my table and noticed that a woman that I know was just seated next to us... OYYY can this get any worse. I didn't have the relationship with her where I would have asked her to borrow 30 bucks... What a disaster... SO I ask the manager if I can write them a check for the difference.. She said let me check with my boss... She then told me she could take my VISA card and process it through their delivery business... WHEW was I happy!!!!
We leave EJ's and go into a shop next door to buy some shirts for Jeff and the boys... We go to pay and my VISA card comes up declined.. I am totally baffled now... Also a little freaked out!!! We get in the car to drive home and Dylan takes my cell phone and says "no talking on your phone" what if we get pulled over by a cop and since you don't have your license I will either cry or get very mad at you!!! We get home and I check my voicemail.. There is a message from Chase bank about potential "fraudulent" activity on my VISA card.. I call them back and get someone on the phone who has a very "heavy" accent... She is reviewing 2 charges with me which were both mine.. No Fraud!! Then I had to answer a series of multiple choice questions for their security... I could barely understand the women and finally asked if I was speaking to someone in the USA and she hesistated and said "your call has been routed to the Phillipines". I was thoroughly disgusted!!!!! To add insult to injury... My card was flagged because I actually "used" it... Gee isn't that what the credit card companies want?? Then I had to spend 15 minutes on the phone with someone I could barely understand. What is happening to this country?? Our own Americans need jobs and American companies keep finding cheaper and cheaper solutions instead of taking care of their own!!! SAD.........

Have fun! I always do! (except on this day)