Nancy Spielberg, a founder of
Children of Chernobyl,
welcomes Michael Douglas

Kathleen Turner and
Michael Douglas

Caron Enlander and
Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas and
Ben Brafman

Exclusive: Donald Trump, who
reputedly declines shaking
hands, can’t resist Nina Boxer

Michael Douglas Helps
Young Radiation Victims

Story and Photos by Tim Boxer

ATHERINE ZETA-JONES wasn’t there at Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl benefit but her hubby, Michael Douglas, arrived at Chelsea Piers and was promptly besieged by the paparazzi.

"We’ve been traveling all year while she was filming two pictures – first Oceans 12 and now Zorro in Mexico," Douglas explained. "After that we’ll go home and take a rest."

I inquired about his father, Kirk Douglas. "My dad, Issur Danielovich – as he’s known around the house – is doing very well."

On the video screen, Kirk said he’s very much interested in Children of Chernobyl because his grandfather’s village was in Belarus in an area near Chernobyl.

Michael, one of the honorees at the dinner, said he became interested in the issue of nuclear proliferation ever since he starred in The China Syndrome, about a meltdown at a nuclear power plant. Ten days after the release of the film, the Three Mile Island accident occurred.

Carolyn Rhea, who served as emcee, said someone called her a shiksa. "Is that good?" she wondered. "At least I know the difference between mikvah and mitzvah."

"We’re all here for a mitzvah," Jon Voight said, as he praised the organization for rescuing children from the area in Ukraine contaminated by the 1989 explosion of Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power station.

Rabbi Yossi Raichik, the organization’s director, said some 2,300 contaminated children were brought to Israel where they were treated for radiation and given a new lease on life.

After Donald Trump introduced Douglas with lavish praise, the guest of honor declared, "Donald, you’re hired!"

Douglas reminded us that he’s been fighting nuclear proliferation ever since he starred in China Syndrome, a fictional account of a nuclear meltdown. "Ten days after the film was released," he said, "Three Mile Island happened in a way that was very similar to the movie."

Steven Spielberg is the organization’s honorary chairman, was represented by his mother, Leah Adler, and his sisters, Nancy Spielberg, a founder of the organization, and Sue Spielberg. Among the guests were the diminutive Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Kathleen Turner hobbling on a cane, who explained, "I have rheumatoid arthritis."

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