Rona Ramon was born in 1964 and grew up in Kiryat Ono. Her parents immigrated from Turkey through “Aliyat Hanoar” and fulfilled the zionist dream of making a family in Israel on zionists values and the love of Israel.
In her military service, she served as a paramedic and upon her release enrolled for a her BA in physical education from Vingate institution.
Her husband. Colonol Ilan Ramon, she met while at school. The two fell in love and got married. They had 3 boys and a girl – Assaf,Tal, Yiftach and Noa. During his military service on the air force, Ilan was chosen to be the first Israeli Astronaut
In 1998 the Ramon family moved to Huston, Texas. Rona accompanied Ilan through his rigorous training in NASA and helped him choose what items to takes with him to the Columbia shuttle: “It was very important to us to make the personal success to a national success and to allow all the Israeli people to take part in this amazing mission in space”, she said in her lectures.
As such. they chose to take to space sevral items that are symbolic to Israel: the scroll of independence, a Torah scroll received by Prof. Yehoyachin Yosef, with which he made “Aliya latora” as a Jewish child in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, mezuzah, flag of the Israel Air Force and the Israeli flag etc.
On february 2003 the worst of all happen, the columbia shuttle, with all of its team members, crashed on it’s way to earth.
Rona didn’t allow her grief to take over her and soon awoke to commemorate her late husband with educational zionist activities.
Rona worked to build the Ramon Foundation within the Ministry of Science on 2008 which led to dozens of educational social projects in the past decade such as the space research olympics, about 15 scientific centers in the social and geographical periphery and distributed scholarships to outstanding researchers. Rona said numerous times: “I have no interest in building bricks and stones to commemorate my loved ones but rather commemorating their spirit through education”.
In addition, Rona initiated, alongside philanthropists and the Israeli Space Agency the Ilan Ramon international conference. This conference became one of the main events of the Israeli space industry where its guests – space agencies from around the world, investors and huge corporations, make business and technological connections with the Israel space industry.
Thanks to Rona’s work, each year astronauts arrive in Israel close to the memorial ceremony of Ilan, and at her request, visit schools in the periphery to spark interest and inspiration among children from all over the country. Rona would say: “this was Ilan’s will”. Rona was also one of the founders of” Israel Space Week “- in which tens of thousands of children participate every year throughout the country.
On September 2009, a few days before “Rosh Hashana”, Captin Assaf Ramon, Rona’s eldest son, was killed in a training accident. Like his father, Assaft fulfilled his dream and became an outstanding combat pilot in the air force. Weeks after his death, Rona opened his personal diary and read the phrase “my brothers and I were raised to inspire to fulfil our dreams based on the belief that each individual needs to find his own purpose”. According to Ramon “That was the best compliment a mother can get – that her children aspire to fulfil their dreams in Israel – weather it’s through music, aviation or technology. This sentence became my main mission in life – to inspire children in Israel to develop within themselves values and capabilities that can help them fulfil their dreams”.
In 2010, Rona founded the Ramon Foundation and was it’s President. The foundation encourages and promotes academic achievements and social involvement among youth – in the spirit of image of Ilan and Assaf Ramon.
Among the foundation’s main activities: the Aviators club – a Social-ethical leadership program for 5th-8th grade students, in which Operational squadrons of the Israeli air force adopt schools from the periphery. The pilots and a professional social leader from the Ramon Foundation accompany the children for two years using close escorting and meeting along the year, the Ramon Space Lab program which gives students a unique opportunity to submit an experiment to the International Space Station through an annual research-based learning program and many more educational programs. “Nothing warms my heart more than seeing pilots from the air force volunteer and assist children who need a good word and inspiration”.
More than 100 thousand children take part in the different program Rona has initiated. In addition, Rona founded alongside The Joint Council of Pre-Military Academies, the “Assaf home”.
Ramon, who researched grief, had a Masters degree in holistic therapy from Lesley University in the US and gave lectures and treated family who experienced loss to strengthen them. In 2013 she published the book: “above us is only the sky” was a collection of Ramon journals, letters, pictures and memories.
On 2016 Rona was selected to lit the beacon of independence at the formal ceremony on mount Hertzel under the title: Israeli heroism.
Rona Ramon was an inspirational women who served as model to inspire to for many men and women in Israel and abroad.
In her vast activities she made a huge impact on the development of the Israeli society and it’s scientific progress. She created leadership with values among students and made the Israeli solidarity stronger.
In her outgoing personality she created magic on those who followed her, filled with belief on their future.
Through her determination she opened many important doors to the scientific community in Israel and as such brought a huge awareness to research Israeli space industry.
Even though she endured a huge personal grief, and despith the dual tragedy, Rona chose a life of full of meaning – to do the best she possibly can for the Israeli society and generations to come.