BBSNews 2015-03-24 — By Michael Hess. The passing of Leonard Nimoy, commander Spock of the famous TV series and movies of Star Trek, has left millions of fans bereft of an icon who stood squarely for peace. While Nimoy had moments when he was chafed by the typecasting to a certain role for life, he embraced the challenge in his book “I am Spock”. He was an actor, an artist and humanitarian who also stood up for the Two State Solution(tm) between Palestine and Israel with Americans for Peace Now.
Mr. Nimoy has a huge list of acting credits in addition to Star Trek. One of his first TV acting jobs was in 1954 on Dragnet. Among his other credits were Bonanza, the Untouchables, the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Get Smart, Columbo, Gunsmoke, Mission Impossible, Fringe, and many more. IMDB shows 134 credits from 1951 to 2013. He had an amazing acting career but that was only a small part of his life.
Mr. Nimoy was born to Ukrainian parents, both Yiddish speaking Orthodox Jews in 1931. He told the Jewish News Service last year by Robert Gluck that “There is a strong strain of Judaism in everything I do. It is a presence that I do not deny and do not want to deny. It is a valuable resource for me and a valuable part of my consciousness.” Gluck also explained the origin of the Vulcan salutation known to millions and possibly billions and the evolution of “live long and prosper.”
Nimoy’s Vulcan hand gesture comes from an experience he had at synagogue when he was 8 years old …
The men were chanting, shouting and praying in an Orthodox service. It was very passionate, very theatrical. I was chilled by the whole thing.
Years later, while on the set of the “Star Trek” television show, Nimoy suggested to the director that Vulcans like Spock should offer some gesture in greeting other Vulcans.
“The director asked me what I had in mind and I suggested the gesture used by the kohanim,” Nimoy says. The gesture went on to be accompanied by the expression “live long and prosper.”
Leonard Nimoy on the Two State Solution(tm)
The beloved Leonard Nimoy who played Mr. Spock deeply believed in a peaceful way forward in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A supporter of Americans for Peace Now he spoke out about the need for peace based on the long known parameters, a Two State Solution(tm). Yedioth in 2011 wrote about his famous letter to APN:
In fact, there is an end in sight. It’s known as the two-state solution – a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state. Even Israel’s nationalist Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has come to see this as the shape of the future. The problem is how to reach that end point. It’s something we should be concerned about – not only as world citizens, but as Americans.”
He went on to write that he supports the division of Jerusalem, mentioning 50 other prominent Israelis, including former heads of the Mossad, the Shin Bet and the military who support a two-state solution.
“There is a sizable number of influential voices in Israel saying the same thing… a call for two states for two nations. Their plan includes a Palestinian state alongside Israel with agreed-upon land swaps. The Palestinian-populated areas of Jerusalem would become the capital of Palestine; the Jewish-populated areas the capital of Israel.”
President Obama also noted that passing of Nimoy in a tweet saying he loved Spock:
As President Obama pointed out, Leonard Nimoy was also an artist. An accomplished photographer. Some of his artwork has caused controversy but it has largely been well-received. Nimoy’s photos in his Shekhina exhibit have a sexual characteristic, and he was chastised by some for seemingly using religious imagery from Judaism in some of his art that offended some; Shekhina is a Talmudic term. It it meant to represent the presence of a diety, but for some the meaning is more akin to a feminine counterpart to God.
Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonrad was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Start Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.
I loved Spock.
In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear that Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.
Leonard Nimoy was a beloved man, deeply aware of what was going on in the world, a man of peace, a man of art. May he live long and prosper in humankind’s memory as a representative of peace, vision and logic.