NASA astronaut to observe Chanukah in space using a felt menorah and dreidel

NASA astronaut to observe Chanukah in space using a felt menorah and dreidel

She still found a way to celebrate the holiday even while in space.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli plans to celebrate in space the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which begins Thursday night, with a menorah made out of felt and a dreidel that she took aboard the spacecraft.

NASA and the International Space Station (ISS) do not allow the use of fire on its spacecraft, preventing Moghbeli from participating in the traditional lighting of a menorah on Hanukkah, but she found a way to still celebrate the holiday.

“My husband and little girls helped make a felt menorah, with lights for each night, that I can pin on to celebrate with them. So I’m excited to do that,” the New York native said during a press conference in July, adding that she will also have a dreidel with her during her space mission.

Moghbeli is the second Iranian-American in space after Anousheh Ansari. Her family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. She is part of SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission, which includes Danish European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Konstantin Borisov from Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. The crew launched on Aug. 26 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This is Moghbeli’s first trip into space after being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2017. The helicopter and Marine Corps test pilot is mission commander for SpaceX’s Crew-7 — making her responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry — and she will serve as a flight engineer aboard the space station.

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