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Happy Hanukkah From TrekMovie.com December 1, 2010

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: List,Trek Franchise , trackback

Tonight, December 1st, is 2010’s first night of Hanukkah (or Chanukah), the annual eight-day Jewish festival of lights. So TrekMovie would like to wish all of our Jewish readers a big Happy Hanukkah. We also take a look at some Star Trek/Hanukkah connections.



Happy Hanakkah

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah has never actually been explicitly mentioned in canon, filmed Star Trek. While Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “The Ambergris Element” included a mention of the feline Caitian crewmember M’Ress playing a game of draydel (a traditional spinning top game played during Hanukkah) with her Academy roommate, it did not appear in the filmed version. However, many of Trek’s luminaries are Jewish, including J.J. Abrams, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (who tweeted Hanukkah wishes today). In fact the original Kirk and Spock are called out in Adam Sandler’s famous "The Chanukah Song". Last year Neil Diamond made his own cover of this song, and the animated video shows Kirk and Spock playing with a draydel.

Kirk and Spock with Dreidel in Neil Diamond’s video of "The Chanukah Song" Click to watch video at YouTube

Another tradition of Hanukah is the Menorah, which has night lights, one of each of which is lit each night of the holiday. Last year we shared this image from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories of their Star Trek menorah made from Star Trek Pez dispensers.

Of course there are many more Star Trek/Jewish connections, such as the Vulcan salute. For more, visit Rabbi Yonassan Gershom’s TrekJews.com, or the Jewish page at Memory Alpha. You can also buy Rabbi Gershom’s book "Jewish Themes in Star Trek" (a great Hanukah present idea). Another idea is CD of William Shatner reading "Exodus: An Oration in Three Parts"

To learn more about Hanukkah, visit The Chabad Hanakkah site.


1. John Cooley - December 1, 2010

Why is Jim Kirk’s tunic green? Only the wraparound was green.

Infact…Hey Bob! You guys should put “New Universe” Kirk in a wrap for a bit in the new film.

2. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - December 1, 2010

Happy Hollidays to all.

3. Jerry Silber - December 1, 2010

Hi folks- Jerry Silber of the Albany Fans Association Star Trek Meeup group. Even though Jews and their culture haven’t been specifically elluded to in the 23rd and 24th centuries, there are comparisons with different civiliations – Zeons, Bajorans., Vucans, etc.

4. Matt Wiley - December 1, 2010

Re: 1
Green is more festive. And Spock thought it was illogical to wear red.

5. Anthony Thompson - December 1, 2010

I believe that Harve Bennett is another Jewish Trek “luminary”.

6. Harry Seldom - December 1, 2010

” the annual nine-day Jewish festival of lights”????

Eight Crazy Nights!

Nine candles, eight nights.

– Harry

7. keachick - December 1, 2010

Happy Hanakkah! Is it not a time of extending goodwill to all and gift giving?

I am not Jewish. I am of Celtic/Pagan/Christian origin.

I believe that Walter Koenig is part-Jewish and so Chris Pine. Chris, I believe is one-quarter Jewish via his maternal grandmother (Anne Gwynne).

8. SB - December 1, 2010

#1. Okay, here I go into Full Fanboy mode…

The Command uniforms on the old show, all of them, were varying shades of green. It’s just that something about the shade used in the standard uniform tended to show up as gold on film. There are several publicity photographs from the show’s run that show the costume in its true color. (This one, for example: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/media/sites/tampabay.com.blogs.media/files/images/typepad-legacy-files/51167.6a00d83451b05569e2011570778de3970b-pi.jpg)

However, since the Command uniforms tended to look gold more often than they looked green, the gold’s pretty much been accepted as standard. But Bill Theiss stated in various interviews that the actual color he chose and used was an avocado green.

9. SB - December 1, 2010

Woops. That last link I pasted didn’t seem to work. Here’s another one…


10. Red Dead Ryan - December 1, 2010

I know Zachary Quinto is Italian, but is he also Jewish? Because he does look Jewish.

11. Sunspot - December 1, 2010

Happy Hanakkah to all our Jewish Star Trek fans and friends around the world!

12. John Cooley - December 1, 2010

SB…also in full out fanboy mode.
That’s what we all used to think, but it turns out that the avaccado green was only used in the third season double knit version of the command uniform tunic. Do to new information for the most amazing source, we now know that the original first and second season fabric was indeed very gold and when new (before multiple dry cleanings), very sparkly.

I own a beautiful recreation of a first season command tunic made for me using William Ware Theiss’ actual, original, hand drawn patterns. The insignia was made using the actual brass embroidery dies made in 1965, And the FABRIC is a custom manufactured recreation of the original (out of production) fabric, made using an untouched gold fabric sample kept for over 40 years in one of Mr. Theiss’ costume referance notebooks. The only way to own a tunic that could be any closer to what was worn by Bill Shatner durring the 1st two seasons of STAR TREK, would be to steal one of his tunics on display in the Smithsonian. But mine is better…it fits me!

13. John Cooley - December 1, 2010

Whoops…wish I could edit. Please plug in where needed the words: “Due” and “from”.

Also, while I can’t reveal who made my tunic, I will say that the provenance of the materal sources and actual historic documentation used in it’s creation is nothing short of amazing!


14. Vultan - December 1, 2010


According to wikipedia, Quinto is Irish-Italian and went to a Catholic high school… so that suggests he’s not Jewish. ;) But yeah, I was under that assumption as well.

Anyway, Happy Hanukkah everyone!

15. Odkin - December 1, 2010

Boy has this thread gone off the rails…

“That cartoon shirt is the wrong color!”
“No, it’s the right color… I can prove it with these links that don’t work”
“Is Zach Quinto jewish? He sure looks jewish!”
“I have the coolest play costume in the whole wide world!”

Live long and prosper, fellow trekkers. Or to paraphrase as a traditional jewish curse, “you should live and be well” :-)

16. John Cooley - December 1, 2010

Heh! No kidding. Sorry, that’s what I get for hanging out on too many Star Trek uniform boards.
The “it’s gold, no it’s green” argument is very old and kind of fun in a way and I just couldn’t help myself when I found the green shirt in the video. Anyway…I now return you to the discussion already in progress.

17. Daoud - December 1, 2010

@15 Try http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/media/sites/tampabay.com.blogs.media/files/images/typepad-legacy-files/51167.6a00d83451b05569e2011570778de3970b-pi.jpg

Mazel t’oldyaso.

18. Daoud - December 1, 2010

And for http://www.sliceofscifi.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/startrekcover.jpg

just put a SPACE after the .jpg

Perhaps http://www.sliceofscifi.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/startrekcover.jpg%20

might work alternatively.

19. Danya - December 1, 2010

Also Jewish: Spiner

20. SB - December 1, 2010

#12 John…

If you’re in possession of confirmatory information I don’t have, then of course I Bow To You Oh Costume Mastaa!

However, since you clearly are already quite familiar with the whole green/gold business, obviously you were just trying to bait someone like me into bringing it up so you could brag to us about your spiffy tunic. *grin*

21. Nachum - December 1, 2010

A friend of mine once had a theory that the more Jews, the better the series. (Mostly Ferengi on DS9, though).

22. Hugh Hoyland - December 1, 2010

I’m not Jewish but Happy Hannukkah to my Jewish friends out there! :]

23. Mel - December 2, 2010

William Shatner looked well in a green tunic, but I think it wouldn’t look so good on Chris Pine. Bright blue eyes and a green tunic isn’t a good combination in my opinion. But I wouldn’t mind to see Chris Pine in the golden mirror universe uniform. ;-)

24. It was green. - December 2, 2010


Kirk’s shirt (& all the gold/yellow shirts) was actually a lime green color, it just appeared that ugly baby-poop yellow/gold because of the cameras they used.

25. keachick - December 2, 2010

I could be wrong but I cannot recall ever seeing Chris Pine wear green in any movie I have seen him in or in any photo or interview. He looks good in the gold uniform, but blue is his colour. There is a particular shade of a dark blue which he looks so good wearing – just looks so right on him.

I always thought the original colour of the uniform worn by Kirk was a mustard colour.

I guess I could google it – but does anybody celebrate Hanukkah and understand its significance within the culture and/or Jewish religion and care to share?

26. John Cooley - December 2, 2010

Again, I was just kind of playing around, and I totaly didn’t realize that I got obnoxiously excited about my uber cool tunic, sorry. It happens.

As for the color issue, a number of things worked togeather to confuse the issue…stage lighting, cameras, and most noteably color film processing of the mid 1960’s. Add to the mix conflicting stories over the years over the color by William Ware Theiss himself. It gets really confusing, but the man’s own notebooks and swatches from 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1977 don’t lie, and those original sources have put the color issue to bed.


27. robowarrior - December 2, 2010

And don’t forget the reference in Patterns of Force.

28. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - December 2, 2010

Regarding Zach Quinto, since he is part Italian (and so am I, half-Italian, half-Spanish, and not Jewish), it’s no surprise he looks like he could be of Sephardic Jewish ancestry… I think most people of Mediterranean ancestry could be construed as such. Maybe because I am not anti-Semitic, and maybe because I am not deeply committed to the notion of racial purity, but I cannot really tell the difference between Jews of Sephardic ancestry and “gentiles” of Mediterranean ancestry.

29. Sebastian - December 2, 2010

Nicholas Meyer (though not practicing, according to his book)
Rick Berman
Armin Shimerman
Leonard Rosenman (composer, ST IV)
Cliff Eidelman (composer, ST VI)
and JJ Abrams

Happy Hanukkah! ; )

30. Hat Rick - December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah to all my friends in the world of Trek!

31. Losira - December 2, 2010

A wonderful Happy Hannaka to all. Don’t forget Jesus was also a good Jewish boy so again a Happy blessed holiday and break out the trek Menorah! Don’t forget Nick Meyer he’s also a good Jewish boy

32. margaret - December 2, 2010

If I’m not mistaken, both Chekovs are played by Jewish actors – Anton Yelchin is as well.

33. Walter Koenig - December 2, 2010

I am fully Jewish. I have a turtle named Irving who is a quarter Jewish.
Walter Koenig

34. John Cooley - December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah Walter!!!!

35. John Cooley - December 2, 2010

and also to Irving!

36. Jai - December 2, 2010

Happy Hannukah to all our Jewish friends out there. We Sikhs and Hindus have our own ‘Festival of Lights’ too :)

37. Jai - December 2, 2010

*cough* Hanukkah, not Hannukah, of course ;)

38. David G. - December 2, 2010

Can’t wait for all the speculation toward the end of the month about which “Star Trek” actors belong to which Christian denominations……

39. Losira - December 2, 2010

It does not matter if you are christian or jewish. We all came from the same stock jesus a good jewish boy.

40. John Cooley - December 2, 2010

Hear, Here!

41. Nathan - December 2, 2010

“Regarding Zach Quinto, since he is part Italian (and so am I, half-Italian, half-Spanish, and not Jewish), it’s no surprise he looks like he could be of Sephardic Jewish ancestry… I think most people of Mediterranean ancestry could be construed as such. Maybe because I am not anti-Semitic, and maybe because I am not deeply committed to the notion of racial purity, but I cannot really tell the difference between Jews of Sephardic ancestry and “gentiles” of Mediterranean ancestry.”

The Nazis agreed with you. ;-)
Italians and other Mediterraneans were considered by them to be ‘inferior races’ as well. Though not so bad as Jews, of course.

I’m ‘half Jewish’ myself, though currently a practicing Christian. But considering Jesus himself celebrated Hanukkah in Jerusalem according to the Gospel of John, it’s all good. :)

Happy Hannukah, and a good and properly penitential Advent to all the Christians here! Deus benedicat vos!

42. Losira - December 2, 2010

#36 its right on about the Hindu festival of lights celebration. This was mentioned on “Data’s Day” on TNG. I’m not not sure but I believe Hannikka began about 1 or 200 BC when the Macchabee family made a deal of sorts to free the chosen people from bondage from the Mede-Persians or another ruling empire. This was a wheeling dealing family that did a lot for their people. And the lights represents the candle lite vigil for the Macchabee family’s success in saving the the Hebrews. #25 I hope this was some help. In the spirit of this Jewish Holiday. Today I evan new some Jewish folks that put up a pine tree Huannikka bush with astar of David topper and Draedel and menoraha ornaments plus other Jewish symbols for ornamemts. A full Menorah was placed at the foot of the “Bush” my uncle married. Aunt Barbara who is Jewish so I felt privaledgd to learn about their culture and customs. They were of the Reformed sect.

43. Holger - December 2, 2010

Happy Hannukah to all Jewish Trekkers, to all Jews, and in particular to Walter Koenig, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and all the other Jewish Trek people who were mentioned. Have a nice celebration!

44. denny cranium - December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah ! to all my Jewish friends out in Trekdom.
Thanks to those that pointed out Jesus’s Jewish roots.
Have a great holiday!

45. denny cranium - December 2, 2010

Love the Hanukkah song

46. Battle-scarred Sciatica - December 2, 2010

…and happy days to all those out there without religious tendencies!

We know it makes sense!!!!!

47. P Technobabble - December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah to those of the Jewish faith and best wishes.

48. Marc Klein - December 2, 2010

Chanukah is 8 days not nine Anthony.

49. Marc Klein - December 2, 2010

And I should know what being Jewish and all.

50. Nathan - December 2, 2010

#42. That’s incorrect. Hanukkah originated when the Greek Seleucid King Antoniochus IV Ephiphanes began a campaign to destroy the Jewish religion in Israel through radical Hellenization, banning the rites, sabbaths, scriptures, and feasts of their religion, and desecrating the Temple by putting a statue of Zeus in it and sacrificing to him there. In response, the Maccabees, a large rebel army, rebelled and drove the Hellenes from Israel.

The Hanukkah part comes in when the Jews re-dedicated the Temple to God after its defilement under Antiochus. According to legend only a small jug of oil could be found, which would mean the Menorah would go out quickly before more oil could be pressed. However, the oil miraculously lasted eight days, allowing more to be made.

This feast was thus originally the “Feast of the Dedication [of the Temple],” which is how it is mentioned in the Gospel of John. “And it was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; and it was winter.” (John 10:22)

51. John from Cincinnati - December 2, 2010

Why is Kirk’s rank braid only show him as a Commander? In Star Trek the Original Series, Captain James T. Kirk became the third man to Captiain the ship. Under Starfleet regulations at the time (circa 2266) the rank of Captain is to be represented by two solid gold braids with a gold dashed braid in between.

52. John from Cincinnati - December 2, 2010

Also, since the command uniforms appeared as mustard yellow on camera. that is the offical canon color of the uniforms, not green. (Except for the wraparound command tunic)

53. Losira - December 2, 2010

#50 thanks for the corrections as I said I was not clear on the evil empire that oppressed the Hebrews. The Maccabees were a family of soldiers of fortune that wheeled and dealed and ultimately drove the pagans out of their temple. Sort of a Hebrew A Team.

54. Punkspocker - December 2, 2010

I thought the Vulcan salute was actually something a rabbi did? Right? Happy hanukkah!

55. keachick - December 2, 2010

#54 Yes, it is. It has been a while but I remember reading about this in Leonard Nimoy’s “I am Spock” I think. In it, Leonard Nimoy explains that he first saw this “Vulcan salute” hand gesture being used by the rabbi when he attended synagogue as a boy with his family in Boston. If memory serves, he said that at one point in the service, the congregation are meant to turn their backs while the rabbi performs a ritual which included using this hand gesture, which was some sort of peace ritual. It was supposed to be a secret part of the worship service. However, a young boy by the name of Leonard Nimoy peeked.

Later, when working on the development of Spock’s character, he remembered this hand ritual and decided to use it. Clearly, this particular “secret” ritual hand gesture used within the Orthodox Jewish faith practices is no longer secret!

56. Red Dead Ryan - December 2, 2010


Are you sure Rick Berman is Jewish? He once referred to the TOS cast as a “bunch of white guys” while in fact only James Doohan was (entirely) white.

57. Sebastian - December 2, 2010

I have Jewish cousins who are red-headed, freckled and fair skinned.
Skin color is not a factor; it’s a religion, not a race (despite a controversial 1980s Supreme Court decision enacted supposedly to prevent anti-Semitic hate crimes). Most Jews I know (and have known) consider themselves caucasian, but not gentile (there is a difference).

If by white you meant gentile? No, I’m pretty certain Mr Berman is Jewish.

Anyway, another round of Happy Hanukkah! : )

58. keachick - December 3, 2010

According to my dictionary, a Jew is: “1. a person of Hebrew descent or whose religion is Judaism…” A Semite is a “member of any of the peoples supposed to be descended from Shem, son of Noah (Gen. 10:2) including esp. the Jews, the Arabs, Assyrians and Phoenicians…” Semitic refers to, “of or relating to the Semites, esp. the Jews, 2. of or relating to the languages of the family including Hebrew and Arabic”.

The problem is that we often get confused with Jew and Judaism. A person may have racially Jewish, or part thereof, but not be a member of the religion and not adhere (or even know perhaps) to the culture and customs of their ancestors.

I agree with 57 on the colour part. Apparently there have been pure-blooded Maori (brown to dark brown skin tone) who have the same colouring and features as the Jewish cousins. Did anyone hear about the Nigerian couple (both very black) living in Britain who had not just one, but two WHITE babies? All the DNA tests revealed that this couple are the biological parents of both babies. The babies are not albinos. The children were conceived in the old-fashioned, time honoured way.

59. Red Dead Ryan - December 3, 2010

Jews are not white people. White people are of Caucasian descent. Jews originated from the Middle East. Jon Stewart, David Schwimmer, and others do not consider themselves “white”. A lot of Jews are offended, since it reeks of ignorance. After World War II, Jews were granted special ethnic status that allowed for the creation of Israel, as part of an apology for the millions who were executed during the Holocaust. Before WWII, they had no status and were lumped in with white people.

Most Jews look like white folks. But so do some Arabs and some Iranians.


Are your cousins full-blooded Jewish or only partly?

60. subatoi - December 3, 2010

All you need to know about the Vulcan hand sign, in Jewish tradition:
Shatner’s Disc includes the related lines too.

Grace Lee Whitney converted to Judaism on the 80s. And Koenig is full Jewish:
I heard about Spiner but never found a “proof”, and never heard about Pine.

Anyway, Shabat Shalom & Happy Hanukkah from The Holy Land :)

61. Vultan - December 3, 2010


“Most Jews look like white folks.”

Most but not all. Sammy Davis Jr. was Jewish and so is Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Midnight Run, Homicide: Life on the Street).

Anyway, just because Berman said they all were “white folks” doesn’t mean he’s Anti-Semitic. He was probably only referring to skin color, which most of them were of the peachy persuasion. ;)

62. CarlG - December 3, 2010

Anybody here read the Starfleet Corps of Engineers books? The captain of the USS DaVinci is Jewish, and married to a rabbi. Apparently, she officiates the first Klingon-Jewish wedding.

I kind of need to read that. :D

Happy Hanukkah!

63. Sebastian - December 3, 2010


Of Russian Jewish stock; not Middle Eastern.

Natalie Portman is Jewish; she looks pretty white to me.
Supermodel Bar Refaeli was born in Israel (blond haired, blue eyes).
You’re confusing the original tribes of Israel from the deserts of the Middle East with the descendents of modern European Jews. Whole different branch of Judaism, that is. Just as there are Greek and Russian orthodox branches of Christianity, as well.

It’s a religion also. Please bear that in mind. : )

64. Red Dead Ryan - December 3, 2010


Thanks for that info. I didn’t want to appear ignorant or racist. I knew Judaism was a religion as well.

65. Sebastian - December 3, 2010

No worries, RDR ; )

It’s confusing at times.
The major religions have many branches all over the world.
It’s very easy to get them confused.

66. keachick - December 3, 2010

I think the confusion comes because of the diaspora of the Jews that occurred around 70AD (1,940 years ago) when the Romans destroyed the Jewish Temple and chased the Jews en masse out of Palestine. It was not until 1948 that the race of people got their homeland back, Israel and of course, that has not been without its problems…

The refugee people scattered, some going into Eastern Europe and Russia and others west, into central Europe and getting as far as the British Isles and even some into parts of Africa. A great many of these people have maintained their religious and cultural identities, others not as well.

I don’t see why people should be offended about being called “white”, if that is what they look like to others. We are all variations on a theme.

From Wikipedia on Chris Pine:
“His maternal grandmother, Anne Gwynne (née Marguerite Gwynne Trice), was a Hollywood actress, and his maternal grandfather, Max M. Gilford (born Max Goldfarb), was an attorney who was elected president of the Hollywood Bar Association.[4][5] Pine is of Welsh and Jewish descent on his mother’s side.[6][7] He has stated in an interview, “I definitely have a spiritual outlook… I am not a religious guy, I am probably agnostic”.[8]”

In the November issue of Details magazine, Chris Pine stated in the interview that last year when he and the other Star Trek cast members were in Europe promoting Star Trek, he had a few days spare, so he visited parts of Eastern Europe, including Birkenau (the extermination block of the Auschwitz group of camps) in Poland. This Birkenau-Auschwitz concentration camp was built by the Nazis to be the “final solution to the Jewish question”. No doubt this probably means more to him that it might to others.

As a matter of interest, Hitler was interested in race only, pretty much. He had these insane notions of racial “purity” and “superiority”. It made no difference what religion, culture, language any Jew was brought up in – many were Catholic-Christian Germans/Polish/French/Dutch…only their racial origins. Even if only one of their grandparents was Jewish, then they were for the chop. That means that if Chris Pine and his sister had been born in Nazi Europe, they would have also ended up in one of those infamous concentration camps. Food for thought…

Sorry, didn’t mean to be a killjoy. Anyway, now to think happy thoughts and best wishes to all…

(Just found out that I am about 1/16 Jewish on my paternal grandmother’s female side…so much for racial purity – I doubt there is such a thing now – thank God!)

67. subatoi - December 4, 2010

#66 Thanks a lot for the info. I’ll use it on our site :)

68. Mr. "There are always possibilities" - December 8, 2010

Hands down this is the coolest Star Trek blog in the galaxy.

Not only does Bob Orci post here, but Walter Koenig as well!


Happy Holidays to all!

69. Mike - December 11, 2010

Koenig, Nimoy, Shatner, and yes, Brent Spiner, are all “just plain Jewish”. So is Anton Yelchin. There’s a bit about Spiner here (http://hem.bredband.net/locutus/bschat.html)

It was Chris Pine’s maternal grandfather, not his maternal grandmother, who was Jewish. His grandmother, Anne Gwynne, came from an Anglo family from Texas. His grandfather, Max Gilford, was born Max Goldfarb to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York and did very well for himself in California as a lawyer to some famous movie stars. It was one of those old-school ’40s Hollywood interfaith marriages.

Many people have said some of this up above, but I thought I’d sum it up… :-)

70. Howard Feuerwerker - May 23, 2012

I am one quarter Catholic on my mother’s side. See how stupid that sounds? Ashkenazim stop trying to hijack the Semitic brand. You are not Isrealites, you are not Hebrews, you are not Semites. You are Khazar imposters who have hijacked true Judaism for you Holocaust industry. Shame on you.

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