Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Jewish Roots of Spock

It was so sad to hear that Leonard Nimoy passed away on Friday. His Spock is such a classic that he will forever be the icon of a perfect combination of logic and emotion. Many people from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and NASA paid their tributes. Even President Obama issued a statement, “Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy… I love Spock.”

Nimoy’s great legacy certainly includes the Vulcan Salute – the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” One thing I didn’t know is that Nimoy himself invented the famous gesture based on his childhood experience at the synagogue. The Priestly Blessing performed by Jewish Kohanim is with both hands, thumb to thumb in the same position, representing the Hebrew letter Shin (ש). Son of Orthodox Jewish immigrants from now Ukraine, Nimoy understood the unique value of minority culture. “My folks came to the US as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.” He saw the need for Vulcans to have their own way to greet each other, and suggested this.

Now Zachary Quinto has taken over. Will he inject some gay elements into Spock as acknowledgment to another minority group?

1 comment:

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