JMM Insights: Up in Space

In last week’s JMM Insights, we looked at science fiction – this week, it’s science fact! Did you know, out of the roughly 550 people who have left the atmosphere in the history of space travel, more than a dozen Jewish astronauts have flown into space?

Jewish astronauts have headed into space in the earliest days of space programs, include Boris Volynov, who flew on Soyuz 5 frm the USSR despite a “do not send Jews into space” directive from the Soviet Central Committee!

Image: (l-r) Russian Cosmonaut Boris Volynov, American Astronaut Judith Resnik, Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon. All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

After last night’s Are We Alone and Does It Matter? program with Rabbi Dr. Eli Yoggev, you will know that you won’t want to miss the Rabbi’s second program next week!

On Thursday, July 23 at 7:00pm, he’s talking How to Be Jewish in Space. How does one observe the Sabbath if, while in orbit, the sun rises and sets every ninety minutes? Is astronaut food kosher? Is it safe to eat matzah in zero-gravity? How DO you observe Jewish traditions in space? Join us as we take on these questions and more.

In case you missed this week’s Become a Wondernaut program, we’re repeating this special live stream program on Wednesday, July 22 at 3:30pm!

We hope families will join us to explore the challenges of space travel and what astronauts have chosen to take into orbit to remind them of home. We can’t wait to see what pieces of art kids create to share their own choices about what they would bring to space! Remember – we’ll be including many of these art pieces in the Jews in Space exhibit. More info here.

And, of course, we’ve got some perfectly-themed Wondernauts activities for all ages, including:

Design a Mission Patch

Inventions Inspired by Space

What Will You Eat in Space?

*NEW* Active Astronauts

Looking for even more “In Space” activities?

Check out NASA’s Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut program!

Exhibit Sneak Peek!

On October 18, 2019, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir conducted the first all-woman spacewalk, replacing a battery charge/discharge unit on the exterior of the International Space Station. Meir, born in Maine to a Swedish mother and an Israeli father, was participating in her first spacewalk.

First All-Women Spacewalk Commemorative Patch designed by Lynn and Tim Gagnon, 2019. Museum purchase. JMM K2020.1.2

A Name to Know:

Last week we talked about the creation of Spock’s Vulcan salute. This gesture has become recognized around the world.

Maryland-born astronaut Terry Virts shared this photo of himself performing the salute from orbit on the International Space Station as a tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy (who originated the character of Spock). Nimoy died on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy’s hometown, can be seen through the window.

Image courtesy of NASA. 


Doesn’t this Emilie Shapiro jewelry line remind you of gorgeous space photos? Support JMM and an independent artisan with your purchase today!

Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at and let us know.


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