The Torah in the Outer Space

Jeffrey Hoffman flew five space flights between 1978 and 1997, becoming the first astronaut to exceed 1,000 hours aboard a space shuttle. In 1985, during one of these missions, this American Jew carried a Sefer-Torah, the first ever to be in space. “Bringing a Sefer-Torah here makes space special for me; it brings the sacredness of human life into space,” he said at the time.

The Israeli post office has just released a series of stamps to celebrate the event, in fact only 200 plates, which are sold online for between $100 and $360. The money collected will be used to make a film about the adventure. “To be honest, it fascinates me. I’ve never-before been on a stamp,” Jeffrey Hoffman said on He is now a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Jewish astronaut brought more than just a Sefer-Torah with him on the mission. On board was a Mezuzah that he attached to his bunk with a piece of Velcro; a Talit filled with weights that prevented him from floating because of the absence of gravity; and a menorah to celebrate Hanukkah in space… but which could never be lit in the shuttle.

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