the country and to let them know that there
are Israeli flags and American flags flying at
half staff for him and for all his comrades on
the shuttle," he said.
Many of us dream of exploring space,
some of us do more to learn about it.
"I saw a shuttle launch in late August at
Cape Canaveral," says Meme Resnick, 12, of
Farmington Hills, who attended Space
Camp at the Astronaut's Hall of Fame in
Florida last summer with her sister Carolyn,
10. "It's amazing, something you have to see
in person to experience the full majesty of it.
"I was a little more proud because there
was an Israeli astronaut, but not that much
because I think they are all brave. They all
know something can go wrong. I think the
Carolyn, 10, and Meme Resnick, 12, of Farmington Hills
space program should continue," she said.
attended space camp in Florida last summer.
"It's so sad," said Laurie Kach of
Farmington Hills. "When we were growing
up in the 1960s, the whole space program
Torah study to the astronauts and wrote letters to
seemed so exciting. Now it seems like nobody even
pays attention until there's a tragedy. It saddens me,
At Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield, the auditorium was
too, • that we live in a world where our first thought
filled Monday, Feb. 3, as students in grades 6-12 and
is terrorism when something like this happens."
staff paid tribute to the memory of the astronauts.
The memorial service included a talk by the head-
master, Rabbi Yigal Tsaidi, readings of news clips by
Akiva 10th- and 11th-grade students, and the recita-
Rabbi Harold Robinson, a retired U.S. Navy cap-
tion of psalms.
tain, began the Columbia memorial service in
At the assembly, Rabbi Tsaidi, himself a native of
Israel, spoke of the impression Col. Ramon made on
"Eternal God, when we view our little planet from
the world through his efforts to represent the Jewish
out in space, we learn the unity of all humanity here
on Earth," he said.
"He was not the first Jewish astronaut, but he was
The service ended as Navy Petty Officer Steve
the first to take kosher food into space," Rabbi
Escalante rang a bell seven times for the seven who
Tsaidi told the students. "Ilan Ramon had a secular
education, but he decided to learn the Halachah
[Jewish law] of Shabbat in space."
GOLDEN BOY from page 15
Israel native Tamar Mishory, a Hebrew teacher at
B'nai Moshe, said she spoke to her brother in Israel
geous" earth with its thin, vulnerable atmosphere.
after the news broke. "They [Israelis] were as
"We have to do everything we can to protect it," he
shocked as we were, of course. It was the one thing
urged the premier.
that gave them all pride in the last 16
Courtesy of his wife, Ramon was awakened once
days. I hope the space program will
to the music of his favorite singer, Arik Einstein, the
Israeli Sinatra. "It's nice to hear a Hebrew song up
Michigan State University student
here," he said.
Lauren Rifkin of Manalapan, N.J.,
In Israel, he wasn't religious, but he came to real-
recently arrived home from Israel and
ize that he was the emissary of the Jewish people
thought of the people she met when
worldwide. He noted publicly and frequently that
she heard the news.
his mother and grandmother had survived
"This loss is so immense for us as
and that. his father had fought in Israel's
Americans and it's equally as horrific
War of Independence.
for Israelis, having lost their first
He brought into the Columbia a miniature Torah
astronaut," she said. "I just hope that
scroll given him by an Israeli man, Yehoyahin Yosef,
people always remember what a great contribution
who'd used it to celebrate his bar mitzvah clandes-
all of the astronauts were trying to make for all
tinely in the Bergen-Belsen death camp. He took
mankind, not just for their own respective coun-
along a copy of a drawing titled "Moon Landscape'
done by a Jewish boy in the Theresienstadt camp.
U-M junior Daniel Aghion spent Saturday glued
He packed a kiddush cup and used it to welcome
to the television. The 21-year-old from Boston sent
the Sabbath in space with his gentile colleagues.
out an e-mail encouraging students to send condo-
"In his last e-mail to me," Ramon's brother, Gadi,
lences to the Ramon family through the e-mail
told reporters, "he said he was so happy that he did-
address firstname.lastname@example.org established by the
n't want to return to Earth ... and he didn't."
Israel Defense Forces.
Ilan Ramon leaves a rare, instructive legacy to his
"I think it's really important for his family right
people: He was an Israeli who died at the hands of
now to have all the moral support from Jews around
no enemy, yet died a hero.
lost their lives. Then astronauts flew four T-38 jets
in a "missing-man formation," one plane arching
away from the others, representing the one Israeli
and six American heroes.
"The final days of their own lives were spent look-
ing down upon this Earth," President Bush told the
families of the astronauts. "And now in every conti-
nent and every land that they could see, the names
of these astronauts are known and remembered.
They will always have an honored place in the mem-
ory of this country." ❑
Before he died, Israeli Col. Ilan Ramon sent the
following message back to Earth: "I call upon
every Jew in the world to plant a tree in the land
of Israel during the coming year. I would like to
see at least 13 or 14 million new trees planted in
Israel exactly one year from now, on the anniver-
sary of the launching."
Ironically, Ilan means tree in Hebrew. -
With the tragic deaths of the Columbia astro-
nauts, Col. Ramon's wish to see the land of
Israel blooming with millions of new trees,
forests so thick that one could see them from
space, takes on a new meaning.
To plant a tree in Israel in honor of Col.
Ramon and his fellow astronauts, contact the
Jewish National Fund at . (800) 542-TREE
(8733). The trees planted for the seven astro-
nauts will be planted on air force bases in Israel
and throughout the entire country.
ZAKA volunteers at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Houston/JTA — The remains -of Israeli astronaut
Ilan Ramon have been identified and are to be
flown to Israel for burial next week.
ZAKA volunteers from Jerusalem arrived in
Houston on Sunday to aid in the identification of
Ilan Ramon. The volunteers, mostly Orthodox
Jews usually seen after a terrorist bombing, were
met by IDF officials and the Israeli Consulate.