Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Soviet Jew Behind Israel’s Rocket Launch

At 4 a.m. this past Friday, the Israeli spacecraft “Bereishit” was launched to the moon. Only the United States, Russia, and China have heretofore managed to send rockets to the moon.

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But it’s not only the spacecraft that’s making history. So is one of the project’s leaders, Alex Friedman, who is following it from the ground.

Friedman was born in the Soviet Union. His father, a Chabad chassid, was arrested shortly before he was born because of his Jewish activities and spent seven years in Soviet prisons. Alex saw his father for the fi rst time when he was in 1st grade.

Friedman received sick notes from a doctor so he wouldn’t have to attend school on Shabbat. As a Jew, he had no chance to be admitted to the Department of Physics, so he chose mathematics instead.

Only after years of struggle, in 1970, did Alex Friedman’s family receive permission to immigrate to Israel, where Friedman joined the Israel Air Force, IAI, and Israel’s space industry.

In recent years, he has worked days and nights on this special project.

“This is an inspiring event,” he said recently. “For me, it is also the closing of a personal and national circle….”

“The boy from Russia who was not accepted to study physics because he was a Jew is now part of a team that is sending off a spacecraft containing a disk with the entire Hebrew Bible scanned onto it and an Israeli flag.”

(translated by JewishMom.com)

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Rav Aharon Feldman On True Living

While in Baltimore, Maryland this week, I had the privilege of meeting with the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, 87-year-old Rabbi Aharon Feldman, a member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America who has educated thousands of students.

During our meeting, I asked what, in his opinion, is the most important educational message for our generation. This was his answer:

“A human being’s greatest enemy is the inner voice which says: ‘You, and you alone, are in the center.’ This is the greatest danger, this is our evil inclination, and this is something every person must battle.

“People must know that they are part of something bigger. They need faith, ideals. America and Europe are in crisis at the moment because they don’t have this type of common vision.

“Human beings were not created for their own sake, and sometimes it’s hard for people to grasp that fact. People might act solely in accordance with their desires, even if they are exposed to high culture and acquire a higher education. We saw that in our generation in Germany.

“The most important thing is working on oneself. People become human and noble when they succeed in devoting themselves to other interests beyond their own self-gratification. This is our ongoing struggle over the definition of what it means to be truly human.”

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Sivan Rahav-Meir, a ba’alas teshuvah, is one of the most popular media personalities in Israel. She is a Channel 2 News anchor, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal. Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.