News

Remarks Made at Jewish-American Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
of Jewish Astronauts Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman and Dr. Judith Resnik

Excerpt from remarks made by Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman at his Jewish-American Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Picture shows (left) Dr. Hoffman repairing Hubble Telescope on gold Jewish-American Hall of Fame medal presented to him, and the famous dreidel that floated in space (right) that Dr. Hoffman commissioned for the occasion.

On my first flight, I took a mezuzah along, and velcroed it on the sleeping bunk the astronauts used in rotation. "You can't nail a mezuzah to the door of a space shuttle." On a subsequent flight, I went up 400 miles at a speed of 18,000 mph--with six other crew members--to repair the Hubble in September 1993.


The Hubble mission occurred during Chanukah, and in addition to a mezuzah and other small Jewish objects, I took along a dreidel. Images were sent back to mission control, so I decided to explain what a dreidel was. I went on TV, talking about Chanukah and spun the dreidel to demonstrate the game. The little top floated magically in the cabin, suspended in mid-air. Then I showed the cameras--and the world--a small portable menorah I brought along, but of course there was no candle lighting.

For a video of Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman’s full talk at his JAHF induction ceremony, click here.

Excerpt from Dr. Charles Resnik’s remarks read at the Jewish-American Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Dr. Judith Resnik

Dr. Judith Resnik in space.

Dr. Judith Resnik progressed through a rigorous application process and was selected by NASA in 1978 as one of six women in a class of “thirty five new guys.” Her training over the next six years culminated in a successful mission on space shuttle Discovery in 1984, where she was the 2nd American women and the 1st Jewish astronaut to fly in space, logging over 144 hours and completing 96 orbits of earth. Her training included numerous opportunities to revisit her love of education. She was what I would call a “color commentator” on major television networks when shuttle launches were exciting events for the American public, educating viewers about shuttle systems and processes. She often spoke to groups of schoolchildren or girl scouts, emphasizing the importance of education and hard work and teamwork and effective communication. She was excited to be chosen to fly again as a mission specialist on the “teacher in space” mission of space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

For a 1981 interview by Tom Brokaw of Dr. Judith Resnik, click here.

 
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