Post-film discussion with special guest Rabbi Shaul Osadchey
Close out the festival with two out-of-this-world documentaries and a special discussion with Rabbi Shaul Osadchey who collaborated with his congregant, astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, to bring Judaic objects into space including the Space Dreidel and culminating in the reading of a kosher Torah scroll over Jerusalem on Shabbat morning, March 4, 1996.
About the films:
“Mission of Hope” – Doc, 54min, English
Commemorating 20 years since the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, Mission of Hope is the untold, story of Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon’s “mission within the mission.” Ramon carried with him a small Torah scroll spirited out of the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen by its owner, a young boy at the time who went on to become one of Israel’s top physicists. The film follows the scroll’s path from the concentration camp to the flight deck of Columbia. From the depths of hell to the heights of space, this Torah would serve to honor the hope of a nation and to fulfill a promise made to generations past and future. A powerful story about the resilience of the human spirit.
“Space Torah: A Film by Verissima Productions” – Doc, 25min, English
Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman was the first Jewish American male astronaut to fly into space. Over five space missions, he chose to bring numerous Jewish objects, such as mezuzot that he posted in his sleep compartment and dreidels that he spun during Hanukkah. The highlight was a small and light Torah scroll that he took with him on his fifth and last mission in February 1996. Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, Hoffman’s spiritual leader, was instrumental in making it possible to take a Torah scroll into space. Hoffman saw the act of bringing religious objects into space not only carrying his own traditions with him but bringing the Torah into space had the added symbolic meaning and significance of bringing the holiness of human life into space. This short documentary tells how family, educators, scientific and religious communities can achieve great things and bring our identity to new realms.