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December 6, 2021 3:29 pm

Israeli Astronaut Reveals Dreidel He Will Take Aboard Upcoming ‘Rakia’ Space Mission


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Eytan Stibbe. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO via Wikimedia Commons

Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe will bring along a dreidel when he embarks on Israel’s historic “Rakia” space mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

At a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, Stibbe showed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner the dreidel that will travel with him to the ISS on Feb. 21, 2022.

“I told him I would take a dreidel with me to the International Space Station that will allow me to demonstrate the way in which it works in space in conditions of microgravity and no friction that causes it to slow down and stop,” Stibbe said, according to Israel Hayom. “This is also how Earth rotates, without friction and without stopping.”

Stibbe, a businessman and former fighter pilot who will become the second Israeli astronaut to travel into space after the late Ilan Ramon, previously said that he would take on the Rakia mission “a bag filled with items that have a special meaning to me. It was clear to me that one of these items will be a symbol of Jewish history.” In August, it was announced that Stibbe will also bring to space a 1,900-year-old coin dating back to the second Jewish rebellion against Roman rule, known as the Bar Kokhba revolt.

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In his speech at the Hanukkah ceremony, Turner praised the Jewish community in Houston and wished Stibbe a successful journey. “As you lift off and go into space, just know that you’re not just representing the State of Israel, but you’re representing humanity. And as they root for you in Israel, we shall root for you from the city of Houston.”

The Rakia mission — a joint initiative by the Ramon Foundation and the Israel Space Agency — seeks to “inspire the younger generation while advancing and expanding the Israel Aerospace Industry,” according to its official website. “This mission is an opportunity for breakthroughs in dozens of Israeli technologies and scientific experiments in space, a chance to advance education and the arts in Israel.”

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