This event in history has little mention in Australia, if in fact at all.

Bendigo having a lively Jewish community with the recently reformed Goldfield Congregation Kehollat S’Dot Zahav I thought I would bring to mind the above anniversary and the Jewish connection which moved me very much.

Aboard the Columbia was a young Jewish man IIan Ramon.

He was not the first Jewish man to travel outside the earth’s atmosphere, but his voyage was certainly the most special for us {Jews}.

He was the first to go not as an individual, but as the representative of the whole Jewish people. That is why, although he did not identify as an observant Jew, he insisted that NASA provide him only kosher food. He hung a mezuzah, {a form of plaque mounted on a doorpost reminding one of their connections to G-d} and a symbol on one of the portals of his capsule. In his bag was book of Psalms and a dollar bill given him by Lubavitcher Rebbe {a spiritual Jewish wise man}.

As he passed over Jerusalem, he said the Shema Yisrael, {the centrepiece of morning and evening Jewish prayer service}.

And the whole world watched as he lifted a small Torah scroll that had miraculously survived Auschwitz.

Why the Almighty took him and the other six astronauts from us as He did, I will not venture to know. But I must admit that, in so many ways I envy him. Sure, I envy those who get to get to travel to outer space—-but nobody ever carried anything like his kind of luggage.

You could say that he took an entire nation—- 34000 years of history included——to the heavens. Proving that none of us, no matter how far we may journey, ever goes alone.

Taken from: Ode to Ramon by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman.


Watch a YouTube HERE …
Lynne Newington, Strathdale