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The Israeli Astronaut and Shabbat


Remembering Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, on the thirteenth anniversary of his death.

The story of Ilan Ramon has left a mark on the heart of every Israeli who witnessed it.

Ramon was famously Israel’s first astronaut for NASA, and served as a Payload Specialist for NASA research flights. It was on one such flight, the 28th mission of the space shuttleColumbia, that disaster struck. On February 1, 2003, the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, killing Ramon and the six other crew members on board.

Israel and the U.S. mourned the astronauts’ deaths alongside Ramon’s wife and four children. In 2009, Ilan and Rona Ramon’s oldest son, Assaf, died tragically at age 21 during a routine training exercise when his F-16 fighter jet crashed. Assaf had announced his intention to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pilot shortly after the Columbia explosion.

Ramon felt he bore the responsibility of representing his fellow Israelis in space. To that end, in addition to his innovative scientific research on the mission Ramon carried the Jewish tradition into orbit as well. Among the artifacts


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