presented by the
CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY &
YIVO INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH RESEARCH

From as early as Genesis, Jews have pondered the heavens that surround our planet, as well as their place in them. Often borrowing from other cultures, they used astrology to help guide them in their daily lives, and, as science and technology progressed they became interested in new discoveries, often attempting to unite science and Jewish tradition. Astronomy, mathematics, and other sciences appear frequently in books published by rabbis and scholars in Hebrew and other languages during the 17th through the 19th centuries.

By the early 20th century, when science and tradition had already separated, Jewish inventor Hugo Gernsback coined the term “science fiction,” and founded a series of magazines that became the home for a new genre of space literature that would come to inspire generations of readers. Later that century, Jewish astronauts and cosmonauts would be shot into orbit as part of the space programs of both the United States and the Soviet Union, which also utilized the work of Jewish scientists and engineers, among many others, to reach these milestones. And finally, Jews sometimes appear in popular culture renditions of space, space travel, and science fiction, starring in groundbreaking television shows such as Star Trek, and beloved movies such as Spaceballs by Mel Brooks.

The exhibit Jews in Space tells the story of Jews’ relationship to the solar system, and features a wide array of materials, including:
  • Rare 18th and 19th century rabbinic tomes on astronomy in Hebrew, German, and Yiddish
  • Judaica taken into space aboard the Space Shuttle by astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman
  • Yiddish, English,Polish, and Russian works of science fiction
  • Rare Science Fiction Periodicals
  • Other ephemera from literature and popular culture

EVENTS

STARDATE
02.26.2018
7:00PM

EXHIBITION OPENING

The countdown begins! Join CJH and the YIVO Institute on February 26th for the launch of our new joint exhibition, Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit. Explore the Jewish quest to understand the heavens from 18th century rabbinical texts to the origins of popular science fiction, to Jewish astonauts celebrating Shabbat in orbit. Reserve your spot today for an opening night with curator tours, space themed fun, and a first look at this stellar exhibition.

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STARDATE
04.15.2018
10:00AM

FAMILY PROGRAM

CJH will open one hour early for families to come and view this fun exhibition! There will be arts and crafts for children, curator tours for adults, and space-themed fun for all! Financially supported by the generosity of Lisa and Joshua Greer, Kepco, Inc. & the Kupferberg Foundation.

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STARDATE
05.06.2018
10:00AM

Sensory Friendly Family Program

Come before the crowds. CJH will open one hour early for families to come and view this stellar exhibition! There will be arts and crafts for children, curator tours for adults, and space themed fun for all. People of all ages and ability levels welcome!

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STARDATE
05.07.2018
6:30PM

Meet an Astronaut

What’s it like to spin a dreidel in zero gravity? Find out when five-time Space Shuttle astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman discusses his experiences as a Jew in orbit who brought a Torah, a tallis, a dreidel, and other Judaica on his trips into space. Dr. Valerie Neal, curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, will provide an overview of the history of Jewish Astronauts and their achievements in Space.

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SOCIAL

Exhibit Highlights



I AM NOT SPOCK!

Nimoy, Leonard
Millbrae, California: Celestial Arts, 1975
Private Collection


YESOD OLAM [ASTRONOMY AND COSMOGRAPHY]

Isaac ben Joseph Israeli, c. 14th century
Berlin, 1777
Leo Baeck Institute


AMAZING STORIES

Vol. 1, No. 7
October 1926
Private Collection


EMBROIDERED PATCH

Ilan Ramon; Israeli Astronaut
Private Collection

This exhibit has been made possible in part by The David Berg Foundation’s creation and support of The David Berg Rare Book Room and the generous support of Kepco, Inc., and the Kupferberg Foundation and Lisa and Joshua Greer.