Remembering the Columbia
March 21, 2003
By Avi Green
Last January 25th to February 1st was an amazing event that sadly
turned into tragedy instead. Seven astronauts made an orbital flight into space, including the
first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and a woman who immigrated from
India to the US, Kalpana Chawla. They took off into space from Cape
Canaveral in Florida on the space shuttle Columbia.
I’d seen it on TV, and was very impressed by the flight that was
But then, a few days later, that impression was turned to sadness.
The shuttle burned up in orbit, taking the entire crew with it, and
ending the mission in ruins.
In a way, it was almost like a repeat of the disaster surrounding
the Challenger, when that shuttle blew up while taking off for orbit
in 1986. The difference in this case, is that the shuttle was
destroyed when reentering the earth’s atmosphere.
What’s similar is that both flights included a Jewish astronaut on
their crew roster. On the Challenger, it was Judith Resnik. On the
Columbia, it was the aforementioned Ramon. The difference is that
Resnik was born in the US, whereas Ramon was born in Israel.
The weirdest thing about this disaster, however, is that the
Columbia blew up over Palestine, Texas. Upon having heard
this, I was very baffled indeed. That a space expedition carrying
the first Israeli astronaut would burn up and crash over a town
bearing a Roman name for Israel that was used for political purposes
and later reused during the British occupation of Israel in the
early 20th century for the purpose of delegitimizing the country’s
Jewish status (as many Ministers of Truth around the world are doing
today) was a most peculiar occurance indeed. Maybe it’s just a
coincidence, but it’s still very “News of the Weird”, as they say in
some weekly newspapers like the Asheville
Mountain Xpress of North Carolina.
For now though, it remains to be answered: can the expedition into
space ever be conducted successfully? That’s a question that I for
one just can’t answer myself.
To conclude, let us remember the brave seven who flew into orbit on
the mission from NASA.
They will always be remembered for their bravery and dedication to
Copyright 2003 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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