On Sunday, January 17, CEH congregants went into orbit with an online tour of the exhibit “Jews in Space” presented by the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Our tour guide Talia shared many artifacts from the exhibit such as 18th and 19th century rabbinic books on astronomy, mementos from Jewish astronauts, and a timeline of Jewish accomplishments in astronomy and space flight.
Our guide shared information, film clips and photos of Jewish astronauts including Jeffrey Hoffman, Judith Resnick, Ilon Ramon, and Jessica Meir. Jeffrey Hoffman was the first individual to read Torah in space when he read from Genesis in February 1996. Hoffman also brought a dreidel into space which spun continuously due to the lack of gravity. Ilon Ramon, who perished in the tragic Columbia mission, brought both a mezuzah and a Torah into space.
Talia also shared clips of television shows and movies with a Jewish connection. As noted on the Museum’s website, “[o]uter space has . . . inspired Jewish artists, writers, comedians and thinkers, both religious and secular, to boldly imagine realms beyond our earth.” We watched clips of Mel Brooks’ “Jews in Space” and “Spaceballs.” We also saw a clip from Star Trek and learned that Mr. Spock’s “Vulcan salute” was inspired by the ancient Jewish priestly blessing.
Thank you to the Jean Koshar and Samuel Rothstein Adult Education Fund for supporting “Jews in Space” and many other quality programs for our congregation.