The groundswell of emotion in response to Ilan Ramon's death has not only been a great inspiration for American Jews, it also has helped strengthen the bond Americans feel for Israel.
"It's a state of mourning for the whole nation. Our school is no different," said Joseph "J.P." Schwarcz, 18, a Yeshiva University freshmanin New York.
At the same time, Schwarcz was quick to note the distinct status of Israel's representative on board, Ramon, as a role model for Jews.
"Throughout the whole week, our deans have come into our class and discussed with us how we should be just like Ilan Ramon," he said.
In mourning the tragic flight of the whole Columbia crew, Jews across America are especially touched by the loss of Ramon. Whether Jews saw him as pioneer or peacemaker, most saw him as the best of the Jewish people.