Leonard Nimoy’s Last Words On Social Media Would Make Star Trek’s Spock Proud


In a 2013 interview with the Yiddish Book Center, Leonard Nimoy said the famous Vulcan salute was rooted in his Jewish faith. Nimoy explained that the use of the “Live long and prosper” hand gesture originated in the classic 1967 “Star Trek” episode “Amok Time,” when he suggested to the director, Joseph Pevney, that he needed a way to salute other Vulcans when greeting the Vulcan T’Pau (Celia Lovsky).  

“It was the first time we’re seeing other Vulcans — other people of my race — so I was hoping to find some touches that could develop the story of the Vulcan sociology, history, whatever, ritual,” Nimoy recalled in the interview. “So I said to the director, ‘I think we should have some special greeting that Vulcans do.'” He further explained to the director that humans have simple rituals that they do with one another, like shaking hands, nodding, bowing, and saluting. As such, Nimoy suggested what became the famous Vulcan hand gesture — a hand sign he had seen at synagogue when he was a boy — accompanied by the phrase “Live long and prosper.”

“Boy, that just took off through the culture,” Nimoy told the Yiddish Book Center. “It was amazing. Within days after it was on the air, I was getting it on the street — people doing [the sign] to me, waving to me in this Vulcan gesture.”

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