Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon’s widow to attend school renaming event

Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the Columbia space shuttle disaster, will join in a festive event on March 25, marking the renaming of a Jewish day school in her husband’s honor.

Also participating will be relatives of two of Ramon’s crew mates, William McCool and Kalpana Chawla, as well as Garrett Reisman, a former astronaut who is Jewish.

The event is sponsored by The “1939” Club, an organization of Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and the renamed Ilan Ramon Day School in Agoura Hills, formerly the Heschel West Day School, established in 1994.

The Columbia space shuttle disintegrated during entry into the atmosphere, and its seven-member crew perished, 16 minutes before its scheduled landing on Feb. 1, 2003.

Ilan Ramon was a colonel in the Israeli Air Force and one of eight F-16 pilots who bombed and destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.

Of the four children of Ilan and Rona Ramon, son Asaf was killed at 21, while flying on a routine air force mission.

The sold-out event will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.