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Judaica in space

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2008-03-27

Greg Chamitoff

Greg Chamitoff

A Jewish astronaut is to take two mezuzot into space with him when he flies high into the sky next month.  The mezuzot given to Greg Chamitoff were made by Manchester-born Tel Aviv-based artist Laura Cowan.

NASA’s Chamitoff has been given the two religious items to take into space which will be with him during his six months above the Earth. The first one known as the Apollo is from an aerospace engineer who helped the astronaut with his studies and the other, known as the Shuttle, by a close friend.

"Since Greg and I share a Jewish heritage and I wanted to pick a personal artifact that my family could appreciate for a long time, a mezuzah made sense as something that could become part of the home after returning to Earth," said Phil Hattis. 

The second mezuzah was given by Lisa Stone.  "It seems very appropriate to have a mezuzah that evokes space flight actually go into space.  It will certainly make it a more powerful symbol when it's on one of our doorposts."

Commenting on her work going into space, Cowan said: "My recent work is based on a rocket shape. I was inspired by the Sixties mission to land a man on the moon, I was fascinated by the hype and excitement generated by the race to the moon. I also loved the irony of a futuristic design based on what is now history."