Just before this Passover week began, a new Shatner CD called “Exodus: An Oratorio in Three Parts” hit the stores. The recording is from a live performance of Shatner, accompanied by The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, dramatically reading the story of the Hebrew Exodus both from the Haggadah (text used on Passover) and the bible.
The piece is divided to three parts: "Moses and Pharaoh," "The Ten Plagues" and "Redemption." It combines symphonic music, choral voices, and Shatner’s narrative performance. Passover is a seven days holiday, starts on the day on which, according to tradition, the Israelites exited Egypt and ends tomorrow. Tonight is the night the red sea was parted and they crossed it. This classic scene is also among those featured on the new CD.
The final line of the performance includes the priestly blessing: "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord be gracious onto you; may the Lord make the light of his countenance to shine upon you; and grant you peace." This is the same blessing that is accompanied by a famous hand gesture during the prayer, the same gesture Leonard Nimoy made part of Star Trek as the Vulcan salute. In an audio interview conducted by Ami Eden from the Jewish News Weekly, Shatner mentions this part as the most dramatic (listen to it here — 3rd audio clip).
We know a lot about Leonard Nimoy and his connection to Judaism, but less on Shatner’s. During the JNW interview, he talks about the house he grew up in, in which every year’s a Passover Seder (a festive meal conducted on the first night of Passover) was held, in a long version. Apparently Shatner continues to hold long Seders even today. However, Shatner said his daughter Liz keeps a more modern Seder, shorter and in English. The interview also mentions Shatner’s Football days in Canada and how he lost his position due to Yom Kipur (the atonement day in Judaism), since he had to skip a practice that day.
In the interview Shatner gives some new details on his comedy movie project, The Shiv’ah Club. The story is of two comedians who find their way to a Shiv’ah (seven days of mourning after the death of a family member) because they receive information that a comedy agent will be there. They arrive to the place in an attempt to impress the agent and “crash” the Shiv’ah. Shatner notes that there is no relation between the two jewish projects and it is a mere coincidence that they both occur at the same time.
"Exodus: An Oratorio in Three Parts" is available now from Amazon
Finally, in no relation to Shatner, a new book just came out, called "300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions". The book presents the Four Questions of the Haggadah in 300 different languages – including ancient languages, living languages and constructed languages such as Esperanto and… Klingon. An enclosed CD models correct pronunciation and a DVD renders the questions in four different sign languages.
Klingon, one of "300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions," available from Amazon
UPDATE: A sample scan of the Klingon page is available at starbase972.com (courtesy of the book’s authors)
Shmuel Loutaty, TrekMovie.com’s new Isreali correspondent, is the editor and chief writer of Starbase972.com, the Israeli Star Trek Fan Club site. The above article is based on an original article published at Starbase972.com and modified for TrekMovie.com (translation by Vered Klein)