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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Russian-Jewish ‘Star Trek’ Actor Anton Yelchin Dies in Bizarre Accident

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Russian-Jewish screen actor Anton Yelchin has died in a bizarre accident after he was run over by his own car at home in Los Angeles.

Yelchin apparently got out of the car while it was still running and was crushed by the vehicle as it rolled down the driveway, according to police sources. Friends found the 27-year-old actor at his home, pinned between the car and a brick pillar. The car was in neutral gear and still running.

It is not known why the actor got out of the car, but foul play is not suspected. Yelchin starred as the Russian character ‘Pavel Chekov’ in the two most recent Star Trek movies. He also had completed the filming for the third one in the series, Star Trek Beyond, which is set for release next month.

Hana Levi Julian

What Would Spock Have to Say About Obama’s Nuclear Deal with Iran?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Here’s an excerpt from my favorite episode of Star Trek, “The City on the Edge of Forever”, in which Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Kirk and Spock have traveled back in time to the year 1930 in order to undo a disastrous change to history that was inadvertently caused by McCoy. After extracting the relevant information from his tricorder, Spock shows Kirk exactly how history diverged:

Spock: “This is how history went after McCoy changed it. Here, in the late 1930’s. A growing pacifist movement whose influence delayed the United States’ entry into the Second World War. While peace negotiations dragged on, Germany had time to complete its heavy-water experiments.”

Kirk: “Germany. Fascism. Hitler. They won the Second World War.”

Spock: “Because all this lets them develop the A-bomb first. There’s no mistake, Captain. Let me run it again. Edith Keeler. Founder of the peace movement.”

Kirk: “But she was right. Peace was the way.”

Spock: “She was right, but at the wrong time. With the A-bomb, and with their V2 rockets to carry them, Germany captured the world.”

In the altered version of history, a peace movement headed by Edith Keeler convinced the US government to enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany. Germany took advantage of these negotiations in order to buy time to develop and build nuclear weapons. By the time the US entered the war, it was too late: The Nazis had nuclear weapons, won the war, and conquered the world.

Kirk is startled and disturbed by the implication: By choosing to negotiate peace instead of going to war, the US allowed the world to be swallowed up by Nazism: “But she was right”, he says in his confusion. “Peace was the way.” (Kirk’s naivete is perhaps understandable, coming as it does from someone who grew up on an Earth that had been at peace for centuries.)

Spock, however, corrects Kirk’s misconception: “She was right, but at the wrong time.” Peace is the ultimate goal, but sometimes war is the only logical choice. When one is confronted with evil, it is the wrong time to negotiate peace. One does not appease evil or negotiate with it — one must destroy it, or else the repercussions may be catastrophic. Only when the threat of evil is removed is peace possible.

Moshe Matitya

Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy, 83, ‘Lived Long And Prospered’

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, died Friday at his home in Los Angeles of long-standing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Known best for his iconic role as the stoic Vulcan officer “Mr. Spock” on the bridge of the star ship “Enterprise” in the “Star Trek” television series, Nimoy was true to his character’s nature in his ability to state the unvarnished truth, to the very end.

He attributed his disease to years of smoking, saying once in an interview that he had quit 30 years earlier but “it wasn’t early enough.”

He appeared numerous times in subsequent ‘Star Trek’ movies that emerged as spin-offs from the original series. The program attracted a massive worldwide following that included the young and old, commoners and glitterati alike: even Jordan’s King Abdullah II is known to be a fan.

But Nimoy also was an accomplished poet, musician, writer and director.

Nimoy’s final tweet, posted this past Sunday, reflects his longtime philosophy on life. “A life is like a garden,” he wrote. “Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”

Live Long and Prosper. Nimoy had from the start bestowed this phrase on Spock as his watch-word when saying goodbye as a Vulcan in Star Trek. It was always delivered with the split-fingered gesture the actor distilled from the blessing made by the kohanim in the synagogue where his family prayed.

For Leonard Nimoy grew up as the son of Orthodox Jews, Ukrainian immigrants in Boston. He left this world as he entered it, blessing those around him. Live Long And Prosper.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Stars of ‘Star Trek’ Shill for VW

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The German automaker Volkswagen has recruited the two Jewish stars of the original “Star Trek” series to plug its new e-Golf electric car in the United States in another attempt to rid itself of its stigma of having helped the Hitler regime.

Many Jews boycott Volkswagen and other industries that cooperated with the Nazis.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy apparently were tapped because the “Vulcan salute and the Volkswagen logo have so much in common,” the auto industry publication Auto Evolution reported.

That salute, as any Jewish Trekkie worth his salt will know, is similar to a Jewish blessing sign – two hands forming the Hebrew letter Shin — that frequently appears on Jewish gravestones.

Volkswagen donated more than a million dollars to an international youth center at Auschwitz last year, and in 2011 gave $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League.


Bar Refaeli – Accidental Star Trek Fan

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli had the best of intentions in mind when she tweeted the following, so we’ll give her credit for that:


there’s no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. there is nothing good in war, except its ending – Abraham Lincoln #stopterror

Except for one minor detail.

Abraham Lincoln never actually said it.

Well not exactly.

Abraham Lincoln did say it, but it was an Abraham Lincoln from a different universe. A Star Trek universe.

Stardate 5906.4

We’ll also give Bar credit for being a Trekkie too.

H/T Robert Klein

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel and the Kobyashi Maru

Monday, May 6th, 2013

If you aren’t a Star Trek fan, you might not know about the Kobyashi Maru test. I don’t doubt that someone (or more) has written an entire doctoral thesis on the Kobyashi Maru test. What it is – simply – is an impossible situation in which there can be no winner.

As with so many things from Star Trek, there are deeper questions, challenges, that reflect back on the lives we lead – as people, and as citizens of nations. The paradox presented in the Kobyashi Maru test is simple. A starship is given the option – break an international…let’s say…interplanetary…treaty to rescue 300 lives that are in imminent and immediate danger…risking war…or let them die.

If you do not enter the “neutral zone” – 300 lives are lost. If you do, you are surrounded by enemy forces with little chance of successfully shooting your way out.

What do you do when you find yourself in a no-win position, caught between two immovable options? Where there is no way out put to hurt someone you love…where each side presents you the option of choosing their solution or the promise of a destroyed relationship? What do nations do when they must sacrifice some lives or risk many?

What does a nation do when it is caught between the need to protect some of its citizens, which requires, in many cases, curtailing the rights of others? What happens when as a society you want peace – and to maintain whatever peace you can manage, you must be constantly ready to wage war?

What happens when you are surrounded by enemies who are ever on alert for an opportunity to destroy you. What happens when on a personal or national level you face the Kobayashi Maru test?

Of course, the difference between fiction and reality is that, in fiction at least, you can cheat.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula R. Stern

All Dolled Up For The Holidays

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

“My mother always made the Jewish holidays lots of fun when we were growing up, so is it any wonder I started my own Judaica business?”


My daughter is looking directly into the television camera as she says these words and I’m kvelling.  You plant seeds and then you wait for moments like this.  


An acquaintance of hers at the Jewish Television Channel (JTC) was planning a program on Passover and contacted my daughter, the owner of a youth-oriented online Judaica store, for innovative ideas.  When she began to reminisce about the Ken and Barbie Seders at her house, the producer was smitten.  Tell me more. 


And so yom tov came even earlier this year.  It may have been mid-February, but my dining room table was already set for Passover, complete with Seder plate, matzah holder, Kiddush cup and Barbie dolls.  Sometimes a doll is just a doll, but when Passover rolled around at our house Ken and Barbie were honored guests, not just “at” but also “on” our Seder table.  A short explanation. 




Ken Doll in the role as Moses on Seder Table display


Growing up the child of immigrants, without even a television set in our modest Brooklyn apartment, I eagerly anticipated the Passover Seder.  When my mother replaced our simple everyday dishes with pearly white plates trimmed in gold, it was the signal that we were in store for a special night of delicious holiday foods and a blockbuster story of heroic proportions. 


That was the ’50s.   But it was obvious that the next generation, our children, who had been weaned on Star Trek and Indiana Jones, needed more to engage their interest for the long evening ahead.  My background in design and marketing convinced me that the medium is the message and so I set out to add punch to the epic with visual representations of the starring cast.  After all, who doesn’t love action figures?  When I resurrected my daughter’s extensive Barbie and Ken collection I was ecstatic to discover a Ken figure with a flowing mane, a la Charlton Heston.  Perfect!



Barbie Doll in the role as Miriam with her tambourine on the Seder Table


Off came the glitzy, immodest costumes to be replaced by attire more appropriate for a sojourn in the desert, with no sewing involved.  I merely cut a hole in a big square piece of fabric, slipped it over Ken’s head, tied it with a sash and voila, Moses was ready to confront Pharaoh and his minions. 


Barbie’s transformation into a Jewish maidel involved a little more ingenuity.  With a bit of lace tied around her hair and a long tunic draped over her shoulders, Bridal Barbie morphed into the prophetess, Miriam, playing her tambourine.  Additional dolls provided the supporting cast, Aaron and Tziporah.  A Styrofoam platform covered in faux grass and desert friendly foliage, with a few plastic frogs and diseased cattle, completed the scenario.


“This is our Victorian dollhouse,” my daughter continues, as the camera follows her to a corner of the dining room.   After two hours of filming she has become a pro.  “My mother changes the decorations for every holiday.” 


Like my dining room table, the dollhouse has also become “Pesachdik” with miniature matzos replacing the latkes and doughnuts that graced the Chanukah setting.  In between holidays, the dollhouse is decorated for Shabbos with traditional challah and gefilte fish. 



Passover Dollhouse


I first began furnishing the dollhouse over 20 years ago as a result of visit to Princeton, New Jersey, during the December holiday season.  Our children were enchanted by the town that resembled a Victorian postcard, so I adapted the idea for a Victorian Chanukah, foraging for items wherever I traveled.  A small town in Massachusetts provided one of my most treasured finds, a miniature copy of The Jewish Press.


Today a new generation has arisen who delights in the Seder at Bubby’s house so that when Ken and Barbie make their annual appearance at our table this year they will be greeted by my little granddaughter.  And just like Afikoman and matzah ball soup, another tradition will be passed on from generation to generation.



Helen Zegerman Schwimmer is the author of Like The Stars of the Heavens. To contact Helen, visit Helenschwimmer.com. To view the online Judaica store, visit popjudaica.com.

Helen Zegerman Schwimmer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/all-dolled-up-for-the-holidays/2009/03/26/

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