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Astronaut Timothy Creamer and Mayor Shmuel Sisso

Astronaut Timothy Creamer and Mayor Shmuel Sisso unveil the memorial to Colonel Ilan Ramon.

The city of Kiryat Yam is now among the stars -- at least at the Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Science, Educational, Cultural and Sports Campus, which recently premiered its new planetarium, one of only three in Israel.

As part of ORT America’s Kadima Mada program to revolutionize science education in Israel, the planetarium “offers an opportunity for the people of Kiryat Yam and surrounding communities to explore space travel,” said ORT America’s Executive Director Alan E. Klugman. “It will also stimulate school children’s imaginations as well as spark an interest in their pursuit of science and research.”

The planetarium seats 80 people, 40 in recliners around the perimeter and 40 on floor cushions, which is especially appealing to children. Gazing up, visitors see stunning images projected across the domed ceiling using NASA technology.

Officials also unveiled a memorial to Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon at the opening ceremony, to coincide with the Ilan Ramon Science and Space Memorial Seminar, staged yearly by ORT on the anniversary of his death in the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster.

“Ilan Ramon wrote that the future of space exploration is solely in the hands of today's young people," said Kiryat Yam Mayor Shmuel Sisso to the assembled audience. “Who knows, perhaps one of you sitting here will be Israel's next astronaut?"

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