SAVE THE DATE: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY IN SPACE
DR. HOFFMAN VISIT TO BOSTON’S JEWISH COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL (JCDS): JANUARY 2020
By Jared Matas, EdD. Director of STEAM Innovation
JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School
Every year at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School we host ‘STEAM Week’ where we welcome a wide cross-section of STEAM experts, giving the students a range of STEAM learning experiences. The highlight for all students (and their teachers) this year was meeting with astronaut Dr. Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman regaled the students with stories of his exploits aboard the space shuttle, including repairing the Hubble telescope. Of particular interest to our audience. Hoffman also shared his experience of being Jewish in space, such as putting a magnetic mezuzah on his sleep capsule but not being able to bring matzah to space as the crumbs would be dangerous both to the astronauts and for the shuttle equipment. We watched a remarkable video of him spinning a dreidel in zero gravity – it never stops spinning! Students had the opportunity to ask many questions, exploring both the logistics of space travel and reflecting on the significance of being Jewish in space. Hoffman is the first person to read Torah in outer space. It is indeed remarkable to watch him read the opening lines of Genesis about the creation of the heavens and the earth. He shared with us that while bringing a Torah into space was a cool experience, he didn’t think it made the Torah more special, but rather bringing the Torah to space made space more special.
LIMITED EDITION SPACE TORAH COMMEMORATIVE STAMPS
New! Limited Edition (200) Space Torah Commemorative Israeli stamps are now available. All proceeds will support the Space Torah Project.
To order: Please contact Rachel Raz at email@example.com.
Commemorative Israeli stamps in blue Folder: $100
Signed Commemorative stamps by Dr. Jeff Hoffman: $360
To learn more about the stamps and the project read article at CollectSpace.com
TORAH IN ORBIT: JEWISH JOURNEYS IN SPACE
Join Astronaut Jeff Hoffman and Executive Producer Rachel Raz in Hollywood Florida, Friday, December 6th, 2019 at the Israeli-American Council Summit (IAC)
What does it mean to be a Jew in the “Space Age”? How do we stay connected to Judaism when we’re “off-world”? Astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman has thought about these questions and more. As the first Jewish-American man in space he took a Torah made for travelers with him onto the Columbia space shuttle. Join educator Rachel Raz and IAC Eitanim student Tal Keshet in a conversation with Dr. Hoffman, discussing how to adapt Jewish rituals for leaving Earth, how Jews have traditionally dealt with religion on the road, and where the Jewish journey may take us next.
Space Mezuzah Auction: October 10-17, 2019 (SOLD)
Jeff Hoffman has placed several items that he brought with him into space up for auction. These items traveled with him on some of his five missions into space. Proceeds from the auction of his 1996 Flown Mezuzah will benefit the “Space Torah Project.” For auction information and to see a video about the mezuzah, please view the RRAuction webpage: https://www.rrauction.com/mezuzah
Blog Post: The Times of Israel
Jews and Judaism in Outer Space
“Can you imagine celebrating Rosh Hashanah in outer space? How about Hanukkah, Passover or Shabbat? What do you think it might look like to do so?
Living Jewishly in outer space is not just an aspirational futuristic goal. MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics professor Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman grappled with these questions more than 40 years ago when he first began his journey to become a NASA astronaut.”
Interviews and Filming
In November and April, the film production team filmed interviews with Jeff Hoffman that took place in the Museum of Science and at Jeff Hoffman’s home. Joining us from Canada for the November interview was Rabbi Shaul Osadchey. Rabbi Osadchey had a significant role in Jeff’s Jewish journey into space. He also made it possible for Jeff to bring many Jewish artifacts into space, including the first Torah scroll, in 1996. Janna Kaplan joined the interview in April. Janna is Lecturer in Psychology and Senior Research Associate at Brandeis University’s Graybiel Lab, specializing in Neuropsychology and Space Research. Janna is currently involved with the emerging commercial spaceflight industry.
Sharing the Story with the Wider Community
“A Torah Turning in Orbit: A Jewish Journey in Space.” On November 8, 2018 we hosted a conversation with Jeff Hoffman, Rabbi Osadchey and Rachel Raz, at Temple Emanuel in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. For Jeff and Rabbi Osadchey, this was a reunion after not seeing each other for over a decade. The goal of the conversation was to provide an opportunity for people to hear their story in person and ask questions. The event was in collaboration with Temple Emunah of Lexington, Massachusetts.
Rachel Raz and Jeff Hoffman’s conversation was broadcast on November 11, 2018 as part of the Global Day of Jewish Learning: On Air in a video segment entitled, “Torah in Orbit: Jewish Journey in Space.”
Spring 2018: Space Torah Newsletter
Get up-to-date with everything that has been…and will be going on with the project heading into summer .
“From Sinai to Outer Space” | Rachel’s Article in eJewish Philanthropy
Read Rachel’s reflections about the Space Torah around Shavuot
Space Torah Touches down in Mississippi
|In late June, Executive Producer Rachel Raz did a presentation for education professionals working with students of all ages titled “The First Torah in Space: What Lessons can we learn from it?” at a conference sponsored by the Institute of Southern Jewish Life – http://www.isjl.org/. Participants were amazed to learn about the Space Torah experience, and were enthusiastic about the possibility of having a film to tell this story that they could use in their classrooms.
Rachel was joined by Rabbi Gideon Estes of Congregation Or Ami in Houston, where the Space Torah resides. Together, they explored ways in which the Torah continues to inspire new generations, and discussed the work his congregation has put into preserving and celebrating the Space Torah.
Rachel Raz with Rabbis Jeremy Simons and Gideon Estes
Induction into the Jewish Hall of Fame
|On May 17th, when Jeffrey Hoffman, along with fellow astronaut Judith Resnik (posthumously), was inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, he joined such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Louis Brandeis, and Elie Wiesel. The Space Torah Project team was there to record the event. Dr. Hoffman concluded his remarks by recognizing the efforts of Rachel Raz and expressing his hopes for a film that will allow people everywhere to share in this story.||
Dr. Hoffman receives his Hall of Fame Medallion