Israel lunar-space program chief engineer and Chabad Chassid Alexander Friedman of “Beresheet” moon mission fame will be the honored guest on May 22 at a gala event in Montreal.

Chabad of Westmount’s, “Venture: An Evening With Philanthropists and Global Innovators” will feature some of Montreal’s most influential figures in the development and venture arenas in an evening devoted to “celebrating and advancing impactful giving.”

“We are putting these contrasting groups together intentionally in the hopes of having each influence the other,” Rabbi Ariel Stern, who with his wife, Mushky, and Rabbi Yossi and Devorah Shanowitz co-direct the Westmount Montreal Chabad center, told “It should be an amazing evening of sharing.”

Friedman, 68, a mathematician and rocket engineer, helped design Israel’s first moon-bound rocket for the SpaceIL nonprofit company. As director of the control room and systems engineering manager, he helped guide the spacecraft towards the moon for its expected landing in April. In a bittersweet moment for Israel’s first attempt to be the fourth country to land on the moon, the unmanned rocket lost engine power just miles from its destination and crashed on the moon’s surface.

Organizers have already started working on “Beresheet 2,” a second attempt by the group to reach the moon.

Friedman, who overcame Soviet oppression and hardship, including the imprisonment of his father from before his birth until he was 7, rose in the ranks to a top role in Israel’s private space program after emigrating from Russia in 1970. The father of seven, grandfather of 21 and a resident of Nof Ayalon in Israel’s center, Friedman arranged to include a “Chitas,” a book that contains the Chumash (Five Books of Moses), King David’s Psalms (Tehillim) and the Tanya (foundational work of Chabad philosophy), on the landing module.