JMM Insights: Jews & Science Fiction

In last week’s Museum Matters, we mentioned that this month we’re celebrating space here at JMM. Did you know that July 20th is the 51st anniversary of the first moon landing?

With the opening of Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit at the Museum coming this fall, we thought this was a perfect opportunity to give our friends and family some sneak peeks into the exhibit, along with a great series of live stream programming, and a variety of hands-on, family-friendly activities to get excited about the wonders of space.

In this edition of JMM Insights, we’re highlighting Jews and science fiction!

First, mark your calendar and register for our upcoming program with Rabbi Dr. Eli Yoggev, Are We Alone and Does It Matter? Jewish Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life on Thursday, July 16 at 7:00pm. The Rabbi will explore six different ways Jewish tradition and Jewish thinkers have answered the question about life on other planets!

We’ve got a number of exciting options for kids and families to get involved – and they’re a lot of fun for grownups too! If you haven’t explored our online Wondernauts program yet, this is the perfect time to get started.

Here are a few of our favorite sci-fi themed activities:

Design Your Own Science Fiction Book Cover

Create Your Own Planet

Design Your Own science Fiction Movie Poster

You can find more science fiction related activities here.


We particularly invite families to join us for a special live stream program on Tuesday, July 14 at 3:30pm to become a part of the Jews in Space exhibit!

We’ll be exploring the challenges of space travel and what astronauts have chosen to take into orbit to remind them of home. From dreidels to dinosaurs to guitars, selecting your special objects can be nearly impossible.

After, we hope all our participants will create a piece of art about the objects they would bring to space and submit them to the Museum for our Jews in Space exhibit. More info here.

Exhibit Sneak Peek!

Does this hand gesture look familiar?

While most people know this as the Vulcan salute, the history goes back much further! Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock and inventor of the salute, was inspired by the Cohanim blessing hands, which you can see on this bookplate from the 1860s.

Bookplate from a diary of Jacob da Silva Solis-Cohen. Image used by permission of the American Jewish Historical Society.

A Name to Know

Here’s a fun fact: the term “science fiction” was coined by a Jewish immigrant named Hugo Gernsback!

Gernsback immigrated to the US from Luxembourg. In addition to being an inventor and a writer, he also founded Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine, in 1926.

His magazine featured writers who would become some of the most influential and best-known science fiction authors of all time.


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