Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Press Release

Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit Exhibit Coming to Milwaukee


By - Oct 20th, 2022 11:52 am

MILWAUKEE – Jewish Museum Milwaukee welcomes Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit – the museum’s newest exhibit on display from October 28, 2022 to February 5, 2023. The exhibit – originally created by the New York-based Center for Jewish History and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research –  explores the epic story of the Jewish relationship with outer space, including rare historic tomes, works of science fiction and other ephemera from literature and popular culture. The museum invites the public to celebrate the exhibit at its Opening Preview Costume Party.

“This exhibit is the perfect blend of pop culture, film, science, history and immersive technologies,” said Patti Sherman-Cisler, Jewish Museum Milwaukee Executive Director. “We’re honored to bring this renowned exhibit to JMM and introduce Milwaukee to some of the unknown and fascinating advancements and accomplishments of Jews in space. You don’t need to be a member of the Jewish community or a history buff to enjoy this exhibit – there’s something for everyone.”

About the Exhibit
With a title that pays homage to comedic filmmaker Mel Brooks, the Jews in Space exhibit explores many facets of Jews’ unique relationship with space and the solar system, including:

  • The term “science fiction,” or “sci-fi”, was coined by Jewish inventor Hugo Gernsback in 1929, leading to the creation of one of the most popular genres of literature and film to this day.
  • Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy took inspiration from a Jewish blessing ceremony hand gesture for the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper”.
  • Milestones from Jewish astronauts:
    • Jessica Meir, completing the first all-female spacewalk in 2019
    • David Wolf, the first astronaut to vote from space in 1997
    • Ilan Ramon, Israeli fighter pilot and member of the fatal Space Shuttle Columbia mission whose diary was recovered and restored
    • Jeffrey Hoffman, NASA’s second Jewish astronaut and second Jewish man in space, brought the Torah into space and spun a dreidel for a record-breaking hour in space

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 NASA footage teleporting them to the moon, the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station. 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.

The exhibit also features a wide array of materials, including:

  • Rare 18th and 19th century rabbinic tomes on astronomy in Hebrew, German, and Yiddish;
  • Yiddish, English, Polish, and Russian works of science fiction;
  • Rare Science Fiction Periodicals; and
  • Other ephemera from literature and popular culture.

Exhibit Events
Museum admission will be FREE during two free community days on Sunday, December 4 and on Friday, January 20. Museum programming and events are open to the public and include:

Global Museum Passport – Soref Planetarium at MKE Public Museum
November 9, 2022, 7:00 p.m.Virtual program
Look to the future of adventures beyond Earth with Planetarium Director Robert Bonafurer.

Global Museum Passport – Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Early November 2022, 7:00 p.m.Virtual program
Experience each of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s (NASM) 23 reimaged exhibitions in a virtual program, with new presentation spaces and attractions.

From the Stoop to the Stars: The Comedic Cosmos of Mel Brooks – Lecture
December 1, 2022, 7:00 p.m.  |  In-person program
Join Milwaukee-based film and Brooks’ biographer Patrick McGilligan, author of Funny Man: Mel Brooks, for a talk and audience-driven Q&A, pulling back the curtain on scenes from Brooks’ rags-to-riches story.

Lavie Tidhar, “The Past and Future of Science Fiction” – Author Discussion
December 11, 2022, 12:00 p.m.  |  Virtual program with in-person viewing available at JMM
World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar discusses his newest book, Neom: a novel that emerges from the multi-award-winning universe of Central Station

Christmas Day Cinema: Spaceballs – Movie
December 25, 2022, 12:00 p.m.

Star Trek: Going Boldly Beyond Barriers
January 12, 2023, 7:00 p.m.  |  Virtual program with in-person viewing available at JMM
Join Hector Kilgoe, doctoral candidate in African American religious history at the University of Pennsylvania, in exploring this landmark franchise, Star Trek, and its historical and contemporary relevance.

Sand and Stardust: Resurrecting Stories Burned by Space and Time
January 22, 2023, 12:00 p.m.  |  Virtual program with in-person viewing available at JMM
Hear from world-renowned conservator Michael Maggen who restored and deciphered astronaut Ilan Ramon’s personal writings on The Columbia Space Shuttle before its explosion.

For more information about the exhibit and related programs, visit

The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture. The history of American Jews is rooted in thousands of years of searching for freedom and equality. We are committed to sharing this story and the life lessons it brings with it, so that we may enhance the public’s awareness and appreciation of Jewish life and culture. We are committed to building bridges between diverse groups through shared history and to exploring contemporary issues through the lens of Jewish history, culture and values.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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