The first Messianic Jewish congregation has been established on Mars. Reporter Kai-Kjaer Hansolo of the Lausanne Consultation on Space Evangelism (LCSE) briefed members of the event by holographic telereport.
“This was not the first attempt to establish a congregation on Mars” he stated. “In fact, Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick Milky Way had attempted this after his efforts in the UK and USA, travelling with Jules Verne around several galaxies. Also Joseph Rabinowitstein travelled there on his proposed train for evangelism, working from the Back to the Future (part III) model pioneered by Dr. Michael Emmet Brown.”
The task of establishing the congregation has not been without difficulty, as Mars has an atmosphere that is theologically inhospitable to Messianic Judaism. Named after the Roman god of War, it took Mark Nanosphere in his book “The Mystery of Romans” several attempts to re-situate the astronomical context of Mars in order to demonstrate that rightly understood, Martian law was in essentially the same as TORAH but modified eschatologically (Torah Observance Revised Astronomically Heavenwards) and there was no need to keep certain mitzvoth outside the Land of Israel or the earth in general (Ha’aretz).
Problems with keeping kosher emerged, but Gastronomic Physicist Dr Rich Robinhood applied a Deuteronomic halachic ruling that in space no one can hear you scream, so Shechita methods no longer applied. However, Dr David Bowiesky questioned whether there is spice on Mars, and salting of atomic roosters has been suspended.
Plans for expansion of the congregation have been announced, as the presence of Messianic Jews amongst the Martians has provoked both curiosity and controversy. Dr Phil Inter-Global has written “Everything You Need to Grow a Messianic Space-Station” and Dr Alan David Stern, who has been involved in 24 suborbital, orbital, and planetary space missions, has translated the Hebrew and Greek scriptures into the Martian equivalent of Yiddish.
Being 142 million miles from the Sun, Shabbat times have been extended to an average of 24.6 hours,. Azriel Rosenfield has advised (http://www.lookstein.org/articles/shabbatinspace.htm): “On Mars the day is a little over 24 ½ hours long. Do the colonists keep the Sabbath according to the Mars day or the Earth day?”
It may be argued that the colonists will live by sky time; this implies that they should observe the Martian 24 ½ hour sky Sabbath, just as the passengers of a west-bound ship traveling at the rate of 7 ½ per day observe a 24 ½ hour sky time (ship time) Sabbath. (Unfortunately, the Mars and ship cases are not exactly parallel. The ship’s passengers, by keeping a sky week, stay in step with the fixed communities which they pass on their voyage. Similarly, the polar community, the astronaut, and so on, stay in step with ordinary communities by ignoring the sky and following the clock. The Mars colonists, on the other hand, get progressively out of step with Earth when they follow the sky week. There may thus be a difference of halakhic opinion on the Sabbath question when a Mars colony becomes a reality. )
A further problem is the Martian year lasting about 687 days. Mars has an axial tilt and a rotation period similar to those of Earth. Thus it experiences seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter much like Earth, and its day is about the same length. Its year is almost twice as long as Earth’s, and its orbital eccentricity is considerably larger, which means among other things that the lengths of various Martian seasons differ considerably, and sundial time can diverge from clock time much more than on Earth. computations for the High Holidays have led some scholars, David Brickstein and Mitch Glasnost to suggest two Rosh Hashanah celebrations, 343 and a half days apart.
Reflection: Happy 1st April and belated Purim greetings!