The Israeli Post Office issued a stamp in December featuring the country's first astronaut, who is scheduled to fly on NASA's space shuttle in mid-January.
"Every time you are the first, it's meaningful," said Col. Ilan Ramon. Israel will join an elite club of 30 nations that have sent at least one citizen into orbit aboard a U.S. shuttle or a Russian Soyuz capsule. The countries include Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Syria, Costa Rica, South Africa, Poland, Afghanistan and Cuba.
During Orange County's annual "Chanukah Concert", a corner of Costa Mesa's Performing Arts Center is transformed into an all-Jewish music store featuring CDs recorded by some Reform cantors who participate in the performance.
"They don't have much opportunity to put their CDs up for sale," said Dr. Gordon Fishman of Newport Beach, who co-produces the concert with his wife, Hannareta. She and some friends supervise sales, which this year include works by Ruti Brier, Nancy Linder, Shula Kalir-Merton and Arie Shikler. Also available are CDs by the Orange County Klezmers, who play at the concert intermission.