Israel's first astronaut Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon. (AP /NASA, File)

Fifteen years after Ilan Ramon’s death on the Columbia space shuttle, his legacy of hope, strength, and perseverance lives on.

llan Ramon, an Israeli child of Holocaust survivors, was the first Israeli astronaut for NASA and is regarded as a national hero.

Though he did not consider himself “religious,” Ramon insisted on keeping kosher and observing the Sabbath. He even consulted a rabbi on how to observe his faith in space, since he saw himself as a representative of the Jewish people.

A child of Holocaust survivors, Ramon took into space with him a picture drawn by a young Jew who perished in the Auschwitz death camp, a miniature Torah scroll rescued from the Holocaust, and other religious items. Ramon was also the only foreign recipient of the US Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

On February 1, 2003, the Columbia space shuttle exploded, killing all seven crew members, including Ilan Ramon.

Watch this beautiful tribute to Ilan Ramon and his legacy of hope, strength, and perseverance.

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Source: United with Israel