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Astronaut Purim costume

Astronaut Purim costume

Astronaut Purim costume
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

The first Israeli astronaut was destined to be a national hero. Ilan Ramon, the son of an Auschwitz survivor, launched into space on January 2003 with six American colleagues on the Space Shuttle Columbia research mission. Ramon consulted with a rabbi before going into orbit on questions of Jewish observance in space. If there is a sunset every 90 minutes, should the Sabbath be observed every 10 1/2 hours? And the New Year comes around every 20 days…

Back on earth in 2003, the Jewish festival of Purim fell on March 17th. As part of the holiday festivities, children wear fancy dress and often dress up as their heroes. This year, Israeli costume manufacturers prepared themselves for a rush on astronaut costumes. The products ranged from a close replica of Ramon’s suit with an Israeli flag on the left shoulder and NASA symbol on the chest, to unadorned, orange, polyester boiler suits. The costumes were already on the market when the Columbia Shuttle exploded and the entire crew was tragically killed, shortly before the scheduled landing on February 1st.

The vast stock of astronaut Purim costumes became a matter of hot debate. Many stores immediately withdrew the costumes from their shelves. Angry parents were frustrated that they were unable to buy the costume as a tribute to Ilan Ramon and their children muttered that they would rather be Batman.

This costume was acquired in a back street of Tel Aviv from a pile of costumes which had been withdrawn from distribution.

Object Details:
Astronaut Purim costume
Israel 2003
Synthetic fiber
104 x 35 cm

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