A Responsum Regarding Space Travel (masorti)

Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin
June, 2002
Modern Issues in Jewish Law, Religion & Science, Responsa by David Golinkin

On July 19, 2002, Col. Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, is scheduled to blast off in the space shuttle Columbia from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A few weeks ago, Rabbi David Golinkin was interviewed by “ABC Nightly News with Peter Jennings” for a halakhic reaction to that event. The interview has not yet been broadcast. In the meantime, Rabbi Golinkin has written a formal responsum, which we are reprinting here below.

Question from Daphna Venyige, ABC News Correspondent in Israel: Colonel Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, is scheduled to blast off on the “Columbia” in July. He is not particularly religious, but believes that as Israel’s first astronaut, he has a higher duty to consider. “I feel I am representing all Jews and all Israelis”, he said. How should he, and any future observant Jews, observe Kashrut, daily prayer, Shabbat, and festivals?

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