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Why Star Trek is More Jewish than Star Wars (Just in Time for Christmas)


Star Trek

So I went to see the new Star Wars movie this week and something hit me about the difference between the world of Star Wars and the one of Star Trek: Star Trek is more Jewish.

The most deeply committed fans of both treat them as religions. They do not simply passively enjoy them as entertainment, but make sure to read every book and guide written in supplement to the movies/television series. They know every detail about the characters and respective histories. The fans have an almost Talmudic style with how they check the continuity between what appears on screen and what is written in the countless novelizations and comic book adaptations.

Just like how the sages questioned how one of their peers could have seemingly contradictory opinions ascribed to him.


Star Trek 3

But when one looks at the totality of the two universes it is clear that Star Trek is the Jewish one. Here is a list of reasons why in no particular order.

Star Trek is about the presumed eventual future of humanity where there is peace on Earth and presupposes that people are naturally inclined to be good. Is this not representative of the ends expected by the Tora as in “Love thy neighbor?” The utopia on Earth is similar to what is described as what we can expect after the Mashiach comes.

Star Wars sees the whole universe as a grand battle between good and evil where the Jedi are like priests: they do not marry and shun all emotion in order to “connect” with the “Light” side of the Force.

In Star Wars there is a “savior” in the form of Luke Skywalker who needs to save the Universe from an anti-christ in the form of Darth Vader/ The Emperor. At around the time of Luke’s birth this Emperor had brought down a republic and made himself into the sole power in the Galaxy.


William Shatner

Just as Jews do not seek to convert people to our religion, so too the Federation in Star Trek has a non-interference law which prohibits the personnel of Star Fleet from interfering with the natural order of things in a world with an indigenous sentient population. In other words, the Federation does not try and force its philosophy/culture on others in the way that the Christian empires of Europe did in the already populated lands around the world which they conquered.

Star Trek has a small and devoted fan base which has been divided into a more orthodox element which holds that all of the Star Trek Universe, including all of the later television series, are sacred, and a group which enjoys the general part of Star Trek culture like those Jews who consider themselves to be culturally Jewish and who are far from orthodox.


Leonard Nimoy

Many Jews have been involved in Star Trek including the actors William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Walter Koenig who played Kirk, Spock and Chekov respectively and Jeffrey Katzenberg was the executive at Paramount who oversaw the movies in the 1980s through to the new TV show The Next Generation. Also Jerry Goldsmith wrote the new score for the Star Trek movies which was used on The Next Generation as well. With the exception of its new director J.J. Abrams, there really haven’t been any Jews associated prominently with Star Wars.


Star Trek 2

The recent reboot with the new cast is seen by the faithful as an affront and even heresy because of how it changed the original Star Trek cannon’s narrative, just like how orthodox Jews view the new additions introduced and changes made in the services by the Conservative and Reform as heretical.

Star Trek’s catch phrase “Live Long and Prosper” sounds a lot more Jewish then Star Wars’ “May the Force Be with You.” Seriously now: the first sounds a lot like the Jewish blessing “until 120,” which means that someone should be able to live to the age of 120 just like Moses did. The other sounds more like a Christian telling someone that Jesus loves him.

Even the Vulcan hand sign for live long and prosper comes from Judaism. Leonard Nimoy himself picked it from what the Kohanim (priests) do with their hands when blessing a congregation. The fingers form the Hebrew letter “Shin” which stands for the name of God.

Star Wars has a much larger fan base worldwide of as much as 100 times the size of Star Trek’s and its fans are really insistent that everyone around the world acknowledge the greatness of Star Wars.

Star Trek fans have a huge chip on their shoulders about how much more popular Star Wars is and feel that its success was a bad influence on how the Star Trek Movies were made.

Star Trek came first.

Next week: Why Doctor Who is more Jewish than Battlestar Galactica.

The Author Meets Darth Vader

The Author Meets Darth Vader


Gil

Gil Tanenbaum made aliyah from New York after he completed college.He Has lived in Israel for over 20 years.He has an MBA from Bar Ilan University and is a contributor for various blogs.

5 Comments

  1. JC. Maria

    12/24/2015 at 11:15 pm

  2. A.F. Kaplan

    12/26/2015 at 2:43 pm

  3. Ari

    4/9/2016 at 5:36 am

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