Goldin’s Golden Tech Bits (in Under a Minute)

The Hon. Daniel Goldin


#GGTB NASA Space Techbits
Goldin’s Golden Tech Bits (in Under a Minute)

“Anyone Can Be An Agent of Freedom” Part 1

All my four grandparents escaped violence and religious persecution in Europe in the early 1900s and made their way to New York City. I was a kid born and raised into freedom. And unlike many of my family members who couldn’t make it out of Europe, I had the opportunity to earn an education and planned on graduate school in 1962. 

However plans changed on September 12, 1962, when the Cold War was emerging into the realm of space and President John F. Kennedy gave his moving speech announcing America’s plan to land humans on the moon. 

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

I was so moved and inspired to join our country’s mission to lead exploration of outer space that I said, “Screw it! To Hell with graduate school!” Instead, I moved my wife Judy and myself to Cleveland, Ohio so I could join NASA Lewis (now NASA Glenn) and develop ion and plasma engines to go to Mars in a few decades after we had successfully gotten to the moon. 

While living as a young man in Cleveland, I came across an article that affected me once again. It said Jews in the Soviet Union, as part of the Soviet’s war against religion in the Eastern Bloc, were being denied and persecuted for buying matzah for Passover, a tradition that goes back for thousands of years. And I didn’t just read about the Jews, but also about acts of bigotry and injustice for anyone practicing any faith. 

My friends at NASA and I were so compelled, we in our 20s and 30s decided we were not going to accept Soviet injustice on religious practitioners. And on the spot we created the Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism (CCSA).