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September 11, 2016 11:58 am

Leonard Nimoy’s Son Says ‘Star Trek’ Icon Enjoyed Speaking Yiddish

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Leonard Nimoy. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

Leonard Nimoy. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

The son of the late actor who played the iconic Mr. Spock on the science fiction franchise “Star Trek” told the New York Post on Friday that his father loved speaking Yiddish.

Adam Nimoy recounted this tidbit about his father, Leonard Nimoy, with the release of  the documentary “For the Love of Spock,” which the latter directed.

It was in keeping with an interview Leonard Nimoy gave in 2014, in which he revealed that he had come up with the famous Vulcan salute for “Live long and prosper” after seeing it performed in synagogue during the traditional “Priestly Blessing” — Birkat Kohanim.

He also said that his Jewish identity influenced his approach to his famous “Star Trek” character in general:

Spock is an alien, wherever he is. Because he’s not human. He’s not Vulcan. He’s half and half — what we used to call a half-breed. … He’s not totally accepted in the Vulcan culture because he’s not totally Vulcan. Certainly not totally accepted in the human culture because he’s part Vulcan. And that alienation was something I learned in Boston. I knew what it meant to be a member of a minority — and in some cases, an outcast minority. So I understood that aspect of the character, and I think it was helpful in playing him.

Adam Nimoy said that his father “never forgot where he came from” and often visited Boston, where he grew up as the son of poverty-stricken, Orthodox Jews from Russia. The documentary was released on Friday, a year and a half after Leonard Nimoy died of lung disease at the age of 83.

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  • Dani

    Leonard Nimoy was fully allien, who can doubt it. If he played to be a Jew during his real life during the time he lived in the US, that only means he was in Egypt during the time of the pyramids and help to build them stright with extact angles.

    While in Hollywood, he liked playing being an actor but his true acting was real life like a true magician.

    If you want to contact him, just look up, he is not far from Orion.

  • Chani

    Rest easy Leib. Your memory is a blessing x

  • RiverKing

    This doesn’t surprise me in the least. I often wonder how much of Spock was the real Nimoy. Like many “great actors”, I often suspected he wasn’t really acting.

  • juan

    “Adam Nimoy recounted this tidbit about his father, Leonard Nemoy”…

    N-I-MOY!!!! Get it right!

  • William C. McKee

    I miss Mr. Spock. He rightfully should outlive all of us. No one tried harder to be human — in a sense — than this fellow fully bought into the notion that objectivity was an ideal to seek after. Even to [not] feel emotions and such like, kind of like a Buddhist seeking nirvana. But being a [computer] scientist Spock could never get there. Like the famed LA detective Columbo, there was always going to be “one more question”.

    I conjecture that Nemoy was exposed to long and careful Jewish arguments derived from the Bible’s first five books. Such an exposure couldn’t help but teach you a bit of “logic”. And he doubtlessly called upon such extended esoteric thought to create a highly unique, and at least slightly cosmically connected character. Any religious theology training might have worked. But Nemoy’s Jewish training worked, and worked will for his character. Most anyone could read Spock’s lines, of all this hand waved logic, but the actor had to [feel] them, as well. The result: a character who supposedly couldn’t feel, but that we felt infinitely for. The communication officer remarked at the possible death of his friend Kirk, that she was sad for him not allowing himself to actually be sad. In even the universe, such would be a unique person. A forever tribute to Nemoy’s inspired genius.

    One thing more. Aside from his super science, extreme technology, and cultural roots, the character Spock, in all of his efforts to seek after an unobtainable ideal (though of course for our entertainment) gave some rough brush-strokes for God. The philosophy of nihilism, which hardly makes sense to anyone, even the French, and is in fact rather depressing when people come up with stories about it. Might, by its definitional terms, only be actually logical to God. Spock mind-melding with the ultimate mechanical being “Veger” (a really scary thought) — shortly before it became truly alive, about as close as we might get to that first very lonely creative moment. Thank you Nemoy.