May 7, 2009
Top 5 Jewish moments in ‘Trek’
“Star Trek,” the new film directed by J.J. Abrams, has been with us in one form or another since the original TV series hit the air in 1966. After the show was cancelled in 1969, there was “Star Trek: The Animated Series,” the film franchise as well as the spin-offs: “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.” This is to say nothing of the hundreds of novels that have been written, or the fan-generated episodes and stories.
Jewish themes abound in such “Trek” novels as “Well of Souls,” “The Wounded Sky” and “Spock’s World.” Biblical figures like Moses and David are mentioned explicitly while Jewish themes are intimated in the movie franchise and the various television series. But despite Jewish writers (David Gerrold, Harlan Ellison to name a few) and numerous Jewish stars (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig, Brent Spiner, Armin Shimerman) Jewish imagery and mentions of Jews as a people tend to be fleeting or covered up in “Trek” films and shows.
Finding individual Jewish moments in a 43-year-old goyishe sci-fi series is no easy task. But we aim to please, so without further ado here are The Top 5 Jewish Moments in “Trek”:
5. Chasids in Space
4. An Unearthly Shoah
3. Worf’s Jewish Parents
2. Einstein—Card Shark
1. The Vulcan Salute
And as a bonus ... one of my favorite Jewish Trek moments on “Frasier.” Frasier reads what he thinks is a transliterated Hebrew prayer at his son’s bar mitzvah. Instead, his Jewish Trekker co-worker has accidentally written it in phonetic Klingon:
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