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Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit
By Jewish Museum Milwaukee (JMM)

“May the Schwartz be with you.” – Spaceballs, 1987 

From as early as Genesis, Jews have pondered the heavens that surround our planet and their place in them. Beyond mere wonder, Jews explored using insights from astrology and other sciences to blend with religious tradition and create a vibrant, thoughtful daily life.

By the early 20th century when secular principles of the enlightenment had separated science and tradition, Jewish inventor Hugo Gernsback coined the term “science fiction,” and founded a series of magazines that became a new genre of literature that would come to inspire generations of readers. 

Later that century, Jewish astronauts and cosmonauts were shot into orbit as part of the space race, which also utilized the work of Jewish scientists and engineers to reach the breathtaking milestones that transfixed our cultural imagination. And as our dreams came to the big and small screens, Jews appeared in depictions of space, space travel, and all manner of science fiction, starring in groundbreaking television shows such as Star Trek, and creating beloved movies like Spaceballs by Mel Brooks.

Jews in Space tells this epic story of the Jewish relationship to the extraterrestrial featuring 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 and Polish works of science fiction 
– Rare Science Fiction Periodicals 
– Other ephemera from literature and popular culture

The exhibit features a GeoDome Portal virtual reality environment where visitors are immersed in stories of Jewish history in space and experience the universe with OpenSpace teleporting them to the moon, the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station - or see vital Earth datasets from NASA's Eyes on the Earth.

Provided by The Elumenati, a leading technology provider for museums around the globe, the GeoDome Portal enables collaborative exploration, education and understanding of complex STEAM subjects through its truncated dome that arcs overhead - creating unforgettable experiences.

An Exhibition Created by the Center for Jewish History & the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Book your tickets here. Or check out the two Community Free Days offering free admission to residents of Milwaukee County.

Click here for a full list of programs at Jewish Museum Milwaukee. 


Anonymous Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Isabel Bader*
Bader Philanthropies
Jody and Jeff Steren

Suzy Ettinger Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Herb Kohl Philanthropies
Bert L. and Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust

Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest
The ECAB Investment Group at Baird
Linda & Eli Frank
Cathy & Randy Nemerovski
Steve Solochek Memorial Lecture Fund
WE Energies Foundation

*Of Blessed Memory

Media Sponsor: Wisconsin Public Radio

A special thank you to The Elumenati, LLC for their generous contribution of the GeoDome Portal.