Born in Israel in 1954, Ilan is representing more than just his country on this mission. "We'll try to transfer to space the unity of the Jewish people, from Israel and the rest of the world," he said in a previous interview. "We represent the entire Jewish people."

Col. Ramon is not particularly religious, but believes that as Israel's first astronaut he is part of something greater than himself. "I feel I am representing all Jews and all Israelis," he has said. As such, NASA has prepared special kosher food for him for space travel.

Ilan Ramon is the son of a German immigrant and a mother who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. He has asked a survivor's organization for something to take into space with him, and received a mezuza made with barbed wire. From Yad VaShem, Israel's national Holocaust museum, he also received something: A drawing by a 14 year old boy in Terezin, the concentration camp in Czechoslovakia through which almost my mother's entire family passed through. As I write this, I am looking at a picture which one of my mother's cousins drew as a child in that same camp.Ramon received a picture drawn from the imagination of a young Jew in the confines of a concentration camp. It depicts how the artist imagined the Ear
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This is taken out from an email my brother Charlie Kalech sent to me after the Challenger Desaster 01 02 2003. When converting the email from MAC to PC, the file corrupted in the above shown way.

©2003 s.holzbauer/charlie kalech

"Tste drcken"=push button