I have had many “favorite” projects, and writing the children’s book, “The Little Torah’s Trip to Space” was certainly one of them.
One rainy morning as I was driving my children to school, I heard a reporter on the radio describe the Torah that Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, had taken to space. Did I hear correctly? A torah in space?
When I told a friend of mine that I thought every child should know this story, she told me that if I truly believed that I should write it!
Collaborating with my friends, Grace Maisel, a published author, and Jane Simonson, a painter and illustrator, we wrote “The Little Torah’s Trip to Space” in less than a week. And then the unimaginable happened. The spaceship exploded as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
This was devastating news and our hearts went out to the families that lost loved ones. We still felt this was a story worth telling, but the ending took on a completely new meaning for us.
The entire project was transformative: learning about the history of this special Torah that survived the Holocaust; traveling to Israel to meet Joachim Josephs, Ilan Ramon’s teacher and owner of the Torah; corresponding with the family of Rabbi Dasberg, who perished in the Holocaust, and who gave the Torah to Joachim Josephs while in Auschwitz; and hearing from people of all ages how much this story meant to them.
All the proceeds of this book went to a scholarship fund at Tel Aviv University in honor of the legacy of this little Torah. May its story and message continue in the way we care and treat each other no matter what our differences may be. And that is definitely a story everyone should now.