Article - CHILDREN OF CHERNOBYL
CHABAD'S CHILDREN OF CHERNOBYL
The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear facility on April 26, 1986, spread radioactive fallout over a wide expanse of Ukraine, Belarus, and Western Russia. Millions of people, including tens of thousands of Jews, were exposed to high and hazardous levels of radiation.
In 1990 members of the Jewish community in the afflicted area appealed for help to save their children. The Chabad Youth Organization in Israel, at the request of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, responded to the pleas of these parents, and created the Chabad Children of Chernobyl organization. On August 3, 1990, the first flight of 196 children arrived in Israel. By the end of 1997 a total of 31 flights had brought over 1,500 children to safety in the Jewish homeland.
The children, who arrived without their parents, have been housed on special campuses in Kfar Chabad in central Israel, where they have received extensive medical check-ups and have been under constant professional medical supervision and treatment. To improve their health and stamina, the children have been provided with special diets of nutritious foods and a variety of activities designed to provide a normal, happy childhood.
Evacuating these children from areas that continued to be contaminated was vital to their health. During this critical stage of growth and development, young bodies are particularly sensitive to the dangerous effects of radiation. By relocating the children to an area free of contamination, where the air is clean and the food fresh, healthy, and plentiful, Chabad's Children of Chernobyl has provided them with the optimum opportunity for normal growth and development.
The humanitarian activities of Chabad's Children of Chernobyl have won the international esteem of many of the world's most prestigious organizations. In honor and appreciation of their work, the Israel Postal Authority elected to commemorate this unique project through the issuance of this special postage stamp.