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Children's LiteratureThe Torah—the sacred scriptures of the Jews—has traveled the world in the hands of its faithful adherents; and in this book it also travels into space, as one of the personal items taken aboard the space shuttle Columbia by Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon. A miniature scroll, small enough to fit into a coat pocket, it began its journey in the possession of a Dutch Rabbi, Simon Dasburg. During the Nazi occupation of Holland, he smuggled it into the concentration camp to which he was deported. From him it moved into the possession of a thirteen-year-old boy at his clandestine Bar Mitzvah in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. The rabbi died there, but the boy survived and grew up to be scientist Joachim Joseph, who designed an experiment that also went aboard the Columbia. The experiment, the Torah, and Ilan Ramon all perished with his crewmates when the Columbia disintegrated upon reentry into the United States. One fervently wishes they all could have survived. A wonderful, true tale of chance, continuity, and love graced with pictures that are spare but not overly frightening for this age group. 2003, Kar-Ben, and Ages 7 to 10.