Rowan Polovin
National Chairman, South African Zionist Federation

To the Moon

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?”
Robert Browning

It takes unbelievable chutzpah to believe that you are going to the moon. Not “to the moon” in the metaphorical sense, but in the literal, lunar sense. In fact some may consider those who want to go to the moon a bit loony, which is indeed where the word “lunatic” comes from — a sense that one’s unsound behaviour and actions are being influenced by the moon.

Yet those individuals who decided one evening to go to the moon, and then spent years putting their mission into practice, were highly rational and of sound mind. Their idea to launch a private spaceship that would land on the moon was entirely logical, and in this instance their sound behaviour was influenced by the moon. They are from a nation birthed in risk-taking, audacity, brilliance, ingenuity, tenacity and chutzpah mixed with a fair dose of prayer and miracles. It is an Israeli mission and thus it makes perfect sense. If it works out, then Israel will be the fourth country (think United States, Russia and China) and the first private mission to land successfully on the moon. If it doesn’t, then there’s next time and chicken soup.

The fridge-sized spacecraft was launched on 22 February 2019 and plans to land on the moon on 11 April 2019 (74 years since the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and exactly 110 years after the establishment of Tel Aviv). “Beresheet”, the spacecraft’s name, brings with it on its journey a “digital time capsule” containing the Bible, the Israeli flag, Hatikvah, a copy of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, memories of a Holocaust survivor, children’s drawings, and the entire English language version of Wikipedia (at the point of launch).

No doubt some looneys will claim that the Zionists are trying to colonize the moon and rewrite history, but the rest of humanity will rightly see this as a tremendous and extraordinary achievement that can only benefit science, space and humankind. That our Jewish nation, small in number but large in reach, has managed to shoot for the stars and hopefully land on the moon is something to be proud of. Or what’s our heaven for?

About the Author
Rowan Polovin is the National Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, and the 2016 recipient of the World Zionist Organization’s Herzl Award. He regularly speaks to Jewish and Christian groups about Israel, and writes on the topics of being proudly Zionist, developing a Zionist identity in the diaspora, and on Israel as the startup nation.
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