JERUSALEM (JTA) — One of the astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis is carrying a mezuzah with him to honor the life of the first Israeli astronaut.
Mission Specialist Mike Massimino, who has been working to repair the Hubble telescope, took a replica of the Barbed Wire Mezuzah by San Francisco artist Aimee Golant with him into space to honor Ilan Ramon, who carried the original mezuzah in the space shuttle Columbia. Ramon and the entire crew were killed in the Columbia disaster in 2003.
Massimino and Ramon trained together in flight school.
The original mezuzah was commissioned by The1939 Club, a group of Holocaust survivors and their families in Los Angeles. After the Columbia tragedy, the 1939 Club commissioned Golant to make another Barbed Wire Mezuzah to give to Ramon’s widow, Rona, as a gift. Rona Ramon asked the artist to make the third mezuzah for Massimino to take into space, according to the artist’s blog.