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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven


In Memory of Lt. Colonel Ilan Ramon z"l
Israeli Defense Force

I only live 25 miles from where the space shuttle takes off from. I usually went outside and watched it lift off whenever there was a mission. I really wanted to watch the Ramon flight go up, but I was out of town that day. I was like everyone else, very excited about this mission. Tragedy.

Ilan Ramon: born June 20,1954 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Died on February 1, 2003 over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing. Ramon had over 3,000 flight hours on the A-4, Mirage III-C, and F-4, and over 1,000 flight hours on the F-16. He was one of the fighter pilots who destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. He is survived by his wife Rona and their four children. He enjoyed snow skiing, squash. His parents reside in Beer Sheva, Israel.

"Ilan Ramon had been the youngest pilot on the mission that blew up the Iraqi nuclear reactor, and in so doing no doubt saved the lives of countless members of the American forces preparing to attack Iraq now. Ramon was a proud Jew. He found nothing contradictory between science and technology on the one hand and Jewish roots and tradition on the other. He took with him into orbit a kiddush cup, kosher food, and a Bible that had survived the Bergen Belsen camp. When the shuttle passed over Jerusalem he recited the ''Shma Yisrael.'' The very essence of Judaism was taken aloft with him: sabbath, kashruth, the Bible, and the proud declaration before all the world that there is a single deity." --Dr. Steven Plaut


Jewish spectators putting on Tefillin while waiting for the launch of
Columbia with Rabbi Konikov, a local rabbi in my community.