Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Star Trek: Social Revolution and Jewish Thought

Am I a sellout? Probably. Here's my new article about Star Trek and Jews for the day job.

When I was young, I used to imagine a dream-team synagogue made up of my heroes from movies, books, and TV shows. There would still be the rabbi, the cantor, the sisterhood president; only, in my head, they were all either famous or fictional people. Most of the minyan was taken from Star Trek.

In my Hebrew school class, the model hazzan who led the day's prayers was always, without doubt, the most popular kid in class. So my imaginary synagogue would have a ribald, take-charge cantor, with a deep booming voice and a gung-ho manner: Captain James Tiberius Kirk, the ladies' man of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Still, personally, I was more taken by the perpetually calm, thoughtful, and withdrawn rabbi, who would be (of course) Mr. Spock, the starship's first officer. He hailed from the planet Vulcan, and came from a race of people whose philosophy, lifestyle, and very essence of being demanded logic. This, to me, seemed like the essence of Jewish thought--or, at least, my eight-year-old representation of Jewish (or, at least, Maimonidean) thought: that logic was the backbone to the universe, a clean, crisp and ordered hierarchy through which problems would be solved, differences mended, and harmony achieved.


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