The news on Sunday sent shock waves throughout Israel and the Jewish world:

Asaf Ramon was killed in an air force training exercise.Ilan Ramon

In this small country where every casualty hits close to home, this was particularly shocking.

The Ramon family was Israel's Cinderella story.

It was Asaf's father, Ilan Ramon, who electrified Israel by becoming its first astronaut - and who tragically died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster six years ago.

It was Asaf's father who brought Jewish values to the international stage by reciting Kiddush while orbiting the earth and by eating Kosher food in outer space.

It was Asaf's father - the child of Holocaust survivors - who had defended our country with a daring strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, declaring that "If I can prevent a second Holocaust, I am ready to sacrifice my life."

So when Asaf Ramon chose the dangerous - but privileged - path of a pilot in the Israeli Air Force, a nation eager for redemption watched in anticipation of the son filling his father's void.

We watched with awe last year as Asaf successfully navigated a fighter jet whose engines had quit.

And then in May, we stood in admiration as Asaf Ramon graduated as valedictorian of his cadet's class.

Ilan Ramon's legacy was resurrected. The void had been filled.

So when the news came this week of Asaf's tragic crash in the Hebron Hills, our nation was plunged into double-grief. Grief over the loss of this bright young star, and grief over the loss - once again - of the Ramon family's magical story.

Rosh Hashana Message

When comforting mourners, the traditional Jewish words of condolence are: "May God comfort you amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem." Here, the Hebrew reference to God is an usual word, Hamakom - literally, The Place. The message is that when a person dies, it is up to us to identify their unique contribution - their "place" in the Grand Eternal Plan. And then, the more we endeavor to fill that place, the more God will bring us comfort.

Ilan Ramon's "place" was as Israel's ambassador to the world.

Asaf Ramon's "place" was to restore the legacy of one small country - defending itself, all the while reaching beyond to touch the stars.

In Hebrew, the word "Asaf" means to "gather." To pick up the scattered pieces and bring them together into a new, beautiful whole.

When I spoke with Ilan Ramon shortly before his space shuttle flight, he emphasized the need for the people of Israel to come together in unity for a common purpose.

On Rosh Hashana, each of us is asked if we are prepared to use the coming year to the fullest. Will we bring our potential to fruition?

This year, we must redouble our commitment to fill the aching void that Asaf Ramon's death has left behind - to unite in achieving our national mission, and truly be a light unto each other, and unto all the nations.