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.

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