Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Israel's astronaut carries nation's dreams
BBC News ^ | January 16, 2003 | Verity Murphy

Posted on 02/01/2003 7:44:53 AM PST by MadIvan


All eyes are on Ilan Ramon

As poster boys for the Israel Space Agency go, it does not come much better than Colonel Ilan Ramon.

I know my flight is very symbolic for the people of Israel, especially the survivors, the Holocaust survivors, because I was born in Israel, many people will see this as a dream that is come true

Ilan Ramon
As the son of an Auschwitz survivor, who grew up to become a fighter pilot in the Israeli air force and fought in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War - his personal history is intertwined with that of his nation.

When he blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Ramon will become the first Israeli in space and make Israel the 30th nation to have a citizen fly in orbit.

His flight has become a welcome distraction for Israelis troubled by the ongoing violence in the Middle East and a source of national pride.

Religious artefacts

Ramon will not be the first Jew in space, others who went before him include Judy Resnik, who was killed in the Challenger disaster in 1986.

Nor is Israel's first astronaut a strict practising Jew when on the ground.

But with the eyes of a nation upon as he makes this first symbolic flight, Ramon has been keen to play tribute to his religious heritage.

"As an Israeli and a Jew I asked Nasa if it would be possible to supply kosher food for my menu in space," Ramon said.

"I was surprised and overwhelmed with the effort Nasa put in to trying to accommodate my request," he added.

Among the few personal possessions he will take with him on his 16-day voyage will be mezuzahs - small cases that are hung on door frames of Jewish homes and contain inscriptions from the Bible.

He is also taking a book of Psalms which was given to him by Israel's President Moshe Katsav - the microfiche of the Bible is the size of a credit card.

Tribute to victims

But probably of greatest resonance is a picture drawn by a 14-year-old Jewish boy name Peter Ginz before he was killed in Auschwitz in 1944.


Ramon will take a picture drawn by a boy killed in Auschwitz
Ramon's own mother Tonya Wolferman was a survivor of the Nazi death camp.

The pencil drawing, entitled Moon Landscape, shows a view of the earth from the surface of the moon, as imagined by the boy.

"I know my flight is very symbolic for the people of Israel, especially the survivors, the Holocaust survivors, because I was born in Israel, many people will see this as a dream that is come true," Ramon explained.

"I was born in Israel and I'm kind of the proof for my parents and their generation that whatever we've been fighting for in the last century is becoming true."

Marking the Sabbath

I was born in Israel and I'm kind of the proof for my parents and their generation that whatever we've been fighting for in the last century is becoming true

Ilan Ramon
As a representative of the Jewish nation Ramon did face one difficulty though - how to mark the Sabbath in space when a sunset and sunrise occurs every 90 minutes?

Time permitting, Ramon says he wants to observe the Jewish day of rest as "an act of solidarity with the Jewish tradition".

The ceremony to mark the Sabbath is supposed to begin at sundown, but when the shuttle is in orbit the sun rises and sets 16 times in a 24-hour period.

To solve the theological conundrum Ramon consulted scientists and rabbis alike, and finally they hit upon the solution that he would follow Houston time - the home of Nasa's mission control.

Thanks to the practical restrictions of being in a spacecraft Ramon will also forgo the lighting of candles that features in the Sabbath ceremony.

And he will of course not refrain from all forms of creative labour, such as using electricity and writing, as strict religious Jews do.

Another time peculiarity that the trip has thrown up is that Ramon will miss the upcoming Israeli general election on 28 January.

As a result Ramon has been issued with an absentee ballot, but he said he does not intend to vote.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: columbiatragedy; disaster; feb12003; hero; india; israel; nasa; ramon; shuttle; spaceshuttle; unitedstates
Rest in peace, Colonel.

Regards, Ivan

1 posted on 02/01/2003 7:44:58 AM PST by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: carl in alaska; Cautor; GOP_Lady; prairiebreeze; veronica; SunnyUsa; Delmarksman; Sparta; ...
One of the lost heroes ping.
2 posted on 02/01/2003 7:45:22 AM PST by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Such a terrible tragedy.
3 posted on 02/01/2003 7:52:55 AM PST by Happygal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
I have been crying all morning. Everytime I see the pictures of the astronauts it is soo heartwrenching. May they rest in peace. These brave souls gave their lives for the advancement of Science. I pray for their families. I am sooo choked up! SOB!!
4 posted on 02/01/2003 7:53:44 AM PST by areafiftyone (The U.N. is now officially irrelevant! The building is for Sale!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Ramon is a hero. He is one of the soldiers who bombed Iraq in the 1980s do destroy their nukes.
5 posted on 02/01/2003 7:54:31 AM PST by SunStar (Democrats Piss Me Off !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Happygal
Such a terrible tragedy.

Colonel Ramon was a hero even before this launch - he was in the raid that took out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor.

Israel, which was so boosted by his launch, may plunge into despair.

Love, Ivan

6 posted on 02/01/2003 7:54:35 AM PST by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
'

On behalf of posters on Free Republic, I post this with deepest sympathy for the crew and their families.

Mission - sts107


7 posted on 02/01/2003 7:59:09 AM PST by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Israel, which was so boosted by his launch, may plunge into despair.

Despair for the loss of a hero, certainly. But I'm sure Colonel Ramon would with them to remain courageous, as he did - 'till the end.

8 posted on 02/01/2003 8:00:49 AM PST by Happygal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: DoughtyOne
Thanks for that. It was a crew of heroes.

Regards, Ivan

9 posted on 02/01/2003 8:02:11 AM PST by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Let's hope there will soon be another Israeli astronaut, who comes back home safely. And many more to follow him.

Prayers for Israel.

10 posted on 02/01/2003 8:03:04 AM PST by Smile-n-Win
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Happygal
Agreed, darling.

Love, Ivan

11 posted on 02/01/2003 8:03:09 AM PST by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
I am so sick and in shock. The Colonel Ramon and his wife and family are in my prayers, along with the families of all the brave individuals who have perished in this terrible incident.

I really think we should honor their memory by pressing further into space exploration, not withdrawing in fear. They wouldnt want that. They died for a cause bigger than themselves, and they should be honored along with the others who have died in this noble endeavour.

Colonel Ramon was a man who contributed far more to our world than the average man. He inspired the world with his actions and conduct on this flight. I will always remember him in my prayers.

G-d bless all of these heroes

12 posted on 02/01/2003 8:10:15 AM PST by judicial meanz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Thank you so much for posting this separately. My heart breaks for the families of these brave explorers.
13 posted on 02/01/2003 8:15:40 AM PST by shezza (they have slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Thank you for the thread, Ivan.
14 posted on 02/01/2003 8:16:01 AM PST by BlessedBeGod
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
But probably of greatest resonance is a picture drawn by a 14-year-old Jewish boy name Peter Ginz before he was killed in Auschwitz in 1944.

Just as the Jews as a people survived the horrors of the Holocaust to rise again, but never forget, so shall the people of Israel and America grieve now, yet rise again to the skies above. But we'll never forget this sad, brutal day. I have a double pain in my heart.

15 posted on 02/01/2003 8:18:34 AM PST by veronica
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
NASA TV on the Web

Watch NASA TV Now! Pick from several links.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/MM_NTV_Web.html


Palestine, Texas? eeerie.
16 posted on 02/01/2003 8:21:29 AM PST by fight_truth_decay (Occupied)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Listen oh Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
17 posted on 02/01/2003 8:22:03 AM PST by Former Fetus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fight_truth_decay
Palestine, Texas? eeerie.

I daren't ask what the reaction of the Al Jazeera crowd is to the brave Colonel's death.

Regards, Ivan

18 posted on 02/01/2003 8:22:37 AM PST by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: veronica

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in thee my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by." Psalms, 57:1


19 posted on 02/01/2003 8:27:15 AM PST by Luis Gonzalez (The Ever So Humble Banana Republican)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
I pray for the families of the astronauts. I pray for the American, Israeli, and Indian people. I pray that Israel will heal from this and encourage more of their citizenry into space. Let this tragedy not be the first and final flight of an Israeli. Let it be a reminder of the sacrifices that he gave for his country. Let this be a reminder that yet again, America stands with Israel in happiness and sorrow. God Bless America, Israel, and India.
20 posted on 02/01/2003 9:19:13 AM PST by MoJo2001 (Today God called home the heroes of the Space Shuttle Columbia)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
They should save their tears for later, grit their teeth, and smite the jihadists wherever they are to be found. We in America and Britain must do the same. The war against jihadist terrorists and their enablers must be won!
21 posted on 02/01/2003 9:43:24 AM PST by sheik yerbouty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Yes it was. And you're welcome MadIvan. Thanks for your comments.
22 posted on 02/01/2003 11:16:08 AM PST by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: MoJo2001
Perhaps the Lord above had need of these bright minds. May their families find comfort in knowing the carried the dreams of the civilized world into space and they will be honored for all time for their courage.
23 posted on 02/01/2003 11:49:21 AM PST by OldFriend (SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Farewell, Colonel Ramon. May the good Lord bless your soul and those of your companions. Rest in peace.
24 posted on 02/01/2003 2:51:03 PM PST by Jacob Kell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan; dutchess; LadyX; WVNan; Billie; Angelwood; kristinn; Xthe17th; BufordP
bump -- this is an excellent article Mad Ivan has posted for us, IMHO
25 posted on 02/01/2003 8:02:36 PM PST by FreeTheHostages
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MadIvan
Israel Defense Forces Creates Condolence E-Mail Address for Family of Col.
Ilan Ramon
IDF Spokesperson Sunday, February 02, 2003

The Israel Defense Forces has created a special e-mail address where the
world public may express their condolences to the Ramon Family and to the
people of the State of Israel on the loss of Col. Ilan Ramon in the Columbia
Space Shuttle tragedy.

The e-mail address is: ilanfamily@mail.idf.il

All letters received by the IDF will be presented to the Ramon family.
26 posted on 02/02/2003 6:21:27 AM PST by SJackson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson