St. Petersburg Times Online: World&Nation
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Columbia

Kin of Israeli 'wrapped up in our grief'

©Associated Press
Related video

56k | High-Speed

February 3, 2003

HOUSTON -- Grieving friends and relatives of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon arrived in Houston on Sunday to join Ramon's widow and children.

"We are deeply sorry for all the families," Cohava Eyal, Ramon's sister, told the Associated Press at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Eyal, wearing a space shuttle mission pin, was among six family members and three friends arriving in Houston.

"We are wrapped up in our grief now," said family friend Hudit Keren.

Ramon, a former Israeli fighter pilot, had four children, ages 5 to 15.

Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to United States, arrived in Houston on Sunday to meet with NASA officials for an update on the search of remains.

Under Jewish law, mourners must bury their dead within 24 hours, then immediately begin observing a ritual called sitting shiva -- seven days during which mourners are expected to stay at home, greet visitors and pray.

Since it is unclear whether any of Ramon's remains will be found, his family must consult with a rabbi about how to proceed.

Practices vary among branches of Judaism and rabbis have some discretion in individual cases. The same problem came up after Sept. 11, when few full bodies were recovered in the World Trade Center rubble.

Jewish law requires direct evidence, normally the body itself, to confirm a death. In Ramon's case, the disintegration of the shuttle should be evidence enough to allow the family to hold a memorial service and begin sitting shiva immediately, said Rabbi Kassel Abelson, chairman of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for the Conservative movement.

If some body parts are found later, the family will be directed to bury the remains and sit shiva until sundown of that day, he said.

Ayalon met Saturday with Ramon's widow, Rona. He said Rona Ramon "knew he died very happy. This was the height of his career."

Back to World & National news
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
 
Special Links
Susan Taylor Martin


From the Times wire desk
  • Columbia: Suspicion focusing on long-glitchy thermal tiles
  • Columbia: Sensors give hints of rising trouble
  • Death toll in Zimbabwe train wreck hits 46
  • Bank explodes; mobs grab cash
  • Bush to submit budget today
  • Boat may be missing teens'
  • Nation in brief: Ex-Ill. chief often granted clemency
  • Columbia: Kin of Israeli 'wrapped up in our grief'
  • Columbia: The world mourns but questions, too
  • Columbia: Remnants of tragedy
  • Columbia: Why couldn't 'Columbia' have Hollywood ending?
  • Columbia: Day later, space station crew gets news
  • World in brief: German voters rebuke ruling party
  • Howard Troxler: NASA officials show the right stuff with candor on Columbia
  • Robert Trigaux: NASA feels pinch of the bottom line

  • From the AP
    national wire
    From the AP
    world desk