Jews on Mars
In a stunning development, we have learned that there is life on Mars but
not the kind that had been anticipated.
The first indication, based on the current U.S. space mission, came when
the small roving vehicle called Sojourner spotted a sign on the rocky
terrain of Red Planet that read, "Welcome To Chabad House -- Bring Moshiach
Now." The sign, in English, thrilled and confused NASA scientists back in
Houston, who had no idea what it meant.
Only after thorough research did they learn that it revealed the presence
of a dedicated and particularly hearty group of Lubavitch Chasidim, known
for their tireless efforts to reach Jews in the most remote regions,
urging them to perform mitzvot.
"We've been here for some time now doing our work," said a cheerful
Rabbi Lou Steinwalker, captain of the spaceship "Enterprise 770", in an
exclusive phone interview. When asked how long he had been on Mars and how
he got there, he said only, "where there's a will, there's a way." He then
excused himself, explaining that it was time for prayer and he was looking
for a minyan. In a subsequent phone call, the Rabbi noted that in recent
days another synagogue has been formed on Mars -- a reform congregation
that he would not set foot in.
Following up on that information, we contacted Rabbi Uri Negev, a Reform
leader in Israel, who said that when he had met secretly with the chief
rabbis of Israel in Jerusalem recently, they told him that if Reform
Jews wanted to pray in peace, they should go to Mars. "So we did," said
Rabbi Negev, "and no one has bothered us, except the local Conservative
congregation that keeps trying to borrow our membership list."
A Conservative congregation on Mars? Yes, it is true, acknowledged a
leader of the Jewish Theological Seminary. "We discovered that blending
Jewish law and modernity just doesn't work on earth, and we're always
looking for new venues," explained Rabbi Ismore Sources. The rabbi
complained bitterly of financial competition from the United Jewish
Appeal-Interplanetary Division, which has been scouring Mars via satellite
in search of potential donors.
Stephen Solomon, the chief executive of the charity acknowledged that
highly motivated fund-raisers have been active throughout the galaxy for
several light years. "We've determined through a Strategic Planet Plan
that our most compelling marketing strategy is rescue," he said.
"The trouble is we haven't found anyone out there to save!"
That's been a problem, as well, for Abraham Loxsmith of the Anti-Defamation
League. "We are prepared to open a major branch on Mars, and we've already
ordered the press releases and fax papers. But, so far, no one has defamed
us." Loxsmith is considering whether the lack of defamation may be due to a
form of active, even hostile, disinterest in Jews that qualifies as
All this sudden interest among Jews about Mars has motivated Malcolm
Phoneline to form a new umbrella group, the Conference of Presidents of
Major Martian Jewish Organizations (CPMMJO). He said the group has
already received several calls from anonymous rabbis inquiring as to
whether there were any Pell grants available on Mars.
Meanwhile, a number of kosher-for-Passover tours have scouted out the Red
Planet as a unique alternative to places like Palm Srings and Hawaii for
Jaded holiday vacationers. One tour operator noted that Rabbi Orson Vells
has already been hired to conduct and broadcast the communal seders, to be
called "The War Of The Words," and that space stations are under construction
to transport large supplies of oxygen, horseradish and shmura matzah for the
eight-day festival. "It will be out of this world," the travel expert said,
"and, I assure you, very tastefully done."
Tourism might be effected adversely, though, by a late report that
Palestinian authorities are claiming entitlement to 92 percent of Mars,
asserting that Arab ties to the planet can be traced back to the Koran.