Passover – Shatner reads the Haggadah + ‘4 Questions’ in Klingon

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).

Jewish Shatner
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

Jewish Klingons?
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 (courtesy of the book’s authors)

Shmuel Loutaty,’s new Isreali correspondent, is the editor and chief writer of, the Israeli Star Trek Fan Club site. The above article is based on an original article published at and modified for (translation by Vered Klein)


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The “Arkansas Symphony Orchestra” just sounds wrong. Kinda like, the “Shakespeare Company of Burbank.”

Perhaps a Seder scene with Kirk can be written into the movie?

I always kind of wanted Worf’s parents to mention keeping a kosher table or something.

It’s great that the Shat can finally embrace both Star Trek and Judaism. It seemed for a while he was reticent to discuss either. And #1? Don’t dismiss the ‘Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’ until you listen to them. They may surprise you if you give them half a chance. And if Burbank (the same city that gave the world “Blade Runner” with its Warner Bros. back lots) had a Shakespeare Company, I’d be willing to try it out. I’ve found cultural treasures in places I least expected many times in my life.

#3. Good one! I doubt if Rokeg blood pie, or Heart of Targ would be considered kosher!

So frakin’ cool to see that Loutaty is acting as Trekmovie’s new Isreali correspondent. Also great to read the article concerning Shatner’s Jewish roots and his family’s orthodox observance of their heritage.

#4 –

(Don’t worry, I’m not knocking Arkansas or Burbank as supposed deserts of culture… just riffing on the fact “Arkansas Symphony Orchestra” as a name doesn’t provide the same ring or awe as, say, the London Symhony Orchestra or the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Purely tongue-in-cheek!)

Live long and keep kosher!

The Four Questions in Klingon. Too funny!

Passover is eight days, not seven

unless you’re in Israel

Actually, I’d like to see what’s in that book myself. I was asked to deliver the four questions in at a Seder here is Atlanta about 10 years ago. It was discussed in part on the mailing list of the Klingon Language Institute. ( I’d be fascinated to see if any of my version is what made it into the book.

At first, everyone at the table thought it was a big joke. But by the time I got about halfway into the second question, they realized that it really was a language, not just random noises. Of course, the host just HAD to seat me next to my boss – without bothering to tell me that he was even invited.

Shall I post what I delivered here? Don’t know if anyone is actually interested.


Apparently the editor didn’t like my use of Klingon – That should have read: “I was asked to deliver the four questions in the Klingon Language at a Seder here is Atlanta about 10 years ago”

It seems the web processor didn’t know what to do with tlhingan Hol orthography, when put in the usual angle brackets…

The Shat is a true mensch (person of character) regardless of what that shmegegge (petty person) George Takei says.

Happy Passover, Shatala!

What’s Klingon for “I want to go to Miami!” ?

I know, I know… but, I can’t be helped.

Very interesting article on Shatner’s Jewish roots and his most recent projects. Thanks a lot, Shmuel.

#14 Get lost.

How am I supposed to interpret your rant? Now that we know Shatner has Jewish roots, does that mean that he’s a mensch all of a sudden, just because he’s “The Shat” and Jewish? Should we interpret “mensch” as a Yiddish term, or should we rather go to the true origin of the word, the German “Mensch”, which is a very general attribute? And is Shatner even more of a “mensch” because the non-Jewish George Takei “bashed” him just recently? Is Takei really a shmegegge? Aren’t you mixing up show business with personal character? Why are people like you even allowed to post in public?

I don’t want to read racist BS like post No. 14 on The moderators should delete that post… stante pede! It’s downright despicable.

17 . Settle down sweet pea moogie is a nice poster and I have not once read a post from him that seemed meanspirited or course. Believe me I know because I am often meanspirited and course. We don’t need more thought police in the forums, tired of people pulling the race card out of their butts where none is apparent. Go burn some books

I’m truly puzzled by your post.

Shat is a mensch because this thread is about his life long devotion to observing Passover. What is the issue? That I complimented him in Yiddish on a Passover thread? I once told Leonard Nimoy I thought he was a mensch and he took it very complimentary.

Takei is IMO petty (which again is what shmegegge means) because he’s been bashing Shat for years (not just on Conan) and it’s old & tired.

Give em Hell Moogster

I’m not saying that the poster #14/19 is mean-spirited. I’m not criticizing the Shat for celebrating Passover, and I’m not criticizing anyone for complimenting him on his cultic practices. I’m talking about the pejorative message in #14 and the wording. I know the vocabulary. I hear it regularly. In many disguises. Contrastive. Derisive. Exclusive. And the expository (and false!!) translation in brackets only adds to the deja-vu. Maybe #14/19 is ingenuous… I don’t know… you tell me… but the fact that he doesn’t realize the context that his own post creates and the way his words ring in that context, is (to say the least) irritating. Language is culture and/or nationality. Using that language (or any foreign language) to denigrate other people, who are deemed unaffable and/or incompatible is racist. (Or why do you think the Star Trek writers never translated “petaQ”?)

Garth: (shaking my head in disbelief)

Massive doses of Lithium, Zoloft and a good theropist

Moogie old bean you have officially earned a place on my new Enterprise
details to follow…….


Passover is 8 days. 2 more days till I can have pizza.
Can’t wait.

The things you learn on trekmovie.


Thanks a matzah.

17/21: Rant?? What rant? I don’t see a rant there. I see a poster using Yiddish to compliment someone *SHE* greatly admires.

Moogala, I almost never agree with you on many subjects, but I understood perfectly what you were saying, and that attack on you and your post was completely unwarranted.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

Day 1: Yummy. Matzoh! I haven’t had it in a year. Almost exotic and yet still familiar. Great with chrain (horseradish).

Day 2: Tam Tam Matzoh. How tasty. Good with leftovers. I love Passover. Like a trip to Risa.

Day 3: Hmm. Matzoh pizza. Okay, I guess.

Day 4: Eggplant matzoh casserole? Are you kidding me? Give me fleishig gagh!

Day 5: Give me some salad. I haven’t gone in 5 days. Keep those chocolate covered matzoh squares away from me. You can’t make sawdust taste good by covering it with chocolate — I don’t what Counselor Troi says.

Day 6: I hate matzoh! Let my people boldly go — to the bathroom!!!

Day 7: Is it seven days until we can eat bread or eight? The LCARS is not clear about this.

Day 8: It’s over! Finally. Once again, the galaxy is honored as we have commemorated our FREEDOM (it is holy word, only Yangs may speak it). Pass the saurian brandy.

#26 LOL, really

Looks like it’s already been done. And there’s enough participants who can ask the question in Klingon…

#25 You obviously didn’t read or understand what I wrote. ILMM’s ranting was not against Shatner—I never said that—, but against Takei, and the way it was done had a racist character. To understand I suggest you register for a beginner’s course in linguistic semiotics.)

Here we go….


The conductor of this symphony also leads the Las Vegas symphony and a few others. My wife plays viola for him in another symphony he conducts. I know on the surface the “Arkansas” symphony doesn’t ring out like a group from London, New York or LA but I imagine they’re a pretty reputable organizatiion. So many good players out there and so few symphony jobs. You’d be surprised the great players out there stuck in little places. (Try traveling to Midland/Odessa Tx sometime) The thing that still impresses me is the exposure a classical CD is getting. It was on Leno, and this site. That is cool.

Ref: #17
I rarely post here, just read all of em. But sweet MJ’s little rant is priceless. And brings up an ugly subject. In the 50’s there was this guy who used to point his finger at people who did not agree with him and pronounce them to be COMMUNISTS!!! Now it turns out that a fair number of them actually were communists, but a lot were not, and the nice senator ruined many of their lives.
Well we now have a new breed of self appointed correctness monitors. Instead of pointing the finger and proclaiming you a communist, they proclaim you a RACIST. Same folks just different times. Bye the way, I loved your post Moogie……

#29 Mary Jane:

I didn’t see anything racist in #14’s comment.

It read:
The Shat is a true person of character regardless of what that petty person George Takei says.

…only the person who posted used Yiddish words. What if he/she decided to post using Spanish or French words? Would that also be racist.

I’m assuming the comment was directed at the petty and immature remarks about Shatner that Takei made on a recent talk show. I’m not a Shatner lover, but those remarks by Takei were quite petty. Are you going to accuse me of being racist too, since I also called Takei petty?? (although I did it in English)

Mary Jane
your accusations were out of line. end of discussion.

And from, I hope all of our Jewish readers had good passover and are now enjoying the things they gave up during it.

Just had mapa bread and tranya. Whew! We’re good until next year.

An article about the “300 Questions” book says the authors,
Murray Spiegel and Rickey Stein, “might never have discovered
how much they had in common if Stein had not overheard Spiegel
talking about translating the Four Questions into Klingon.”

> “[NOTE: If you have the book – send us a scan …]”

Anthony, do you plan to post the Klingon translation for us?
Do you have permission from the publisher?

It is a copyrighted book.
Copyright is the reason why Amazon can’t scan this book
(not even one page of it) into their “Search Inside” engine,
without the publisher’s permission.
Likewise, Google can’t scan it (not even one page of it)
into without permission.

You can argue “fair use” all you want, but the Klingon
translation is one of the many ‘selling points’ for this book.
Show some respect for the the authors and their small
publishing company (and the various booksellers) who are
trying to sell this book. Don’t ask us to scan it for you.
Ask the authors/publishers for a copy and permission to post
the Klingon translation. If they decline, respect their decision.
Here is the authors/publishers’ site (with a contact link):

“An article about the ‘300 Ways’ book …”

That was my idea, not Anthony’s, and no harm was intended :)

I guess you’re right, a scan is wrong. But a quote is fine, as far as I know, if not for the whole 4, maybe for one. Or something like that…

PS – I will try to contact them. If I knew about their site, I’d add it to the article too. Thanks!

“#14 Get lost.”

“I’m not saying that the poster #14/19 is mean-spirited.”

So, Mary Jane, you are telling everyone else it doesn’t matter what you say, only how you say it. This, in a nutshell, is Political Correctness. It doesn’t matter that Poster 14 may not have been a mean-spirited racist. It only matters that Poster 14 didn’t attend Linguistic Semiotics 101 in a university classroom or in the context of a (very late) night course taught by blogosphere snarks.

I imagine Star Trek writers didn’t translate “p’taq” because it is a unique word from the Klingon language, the defining nuances of which would be lost in translation to English, indicating the lowliness of the person to whom it is directed. Much like Poster 14 didn’t translate “shmegegge” because it is a unique word from the Yiddish language, the defining nuances of which would be lost in translation to English, indicating the person to whom it is directed is “an unadmirable, ***petty*** person” (1st definition listed under the entry “shmegegge” in Leo Rosten’s _The_Joys_of_Yiddish_, added asterisks mine).

BTW, what’s the reference to William Shatner’s Jewish practices being “cultic”? All the sudden Moses isn’t leading the Jews from Egyptian slavery; rather, he’s leading them in drinking the special Kool-Aid mix in South America? How charitably modern of you. You know, you could have said “religious” and dispensed with the condescension.

Also, what’s with the periods after every disgust-laden word?

“I know the vocabulary. I hear it regularly. In many disguises. Contrastive. Derisive. Exclusive.”

Are you trying to *appropriate* Captain Kirk’s way of speaking?

responding to have proven your rabid anti-Semitism by calling The Shat’s celebration of Passover as ‘cultic’ implying all of Judaism and by extension Christianity is a cult that id dangerous and needs to be eliminated which I find even more offensive than the eery lack of Earth religions being shown in most of Star Trek as a whole, as if they never existed,and where they are shown or mentioned theyre done so with great disdain clearly trying to blaspheme religion much as 21 is trying to do which i pray JJ does not continue doing in the new film…as for the live long and prosper sign being a Passover tradition that Nimoy imported to Trek yes it is, although sadly its also a sign present on The Devil card in tarot decks and like the peace sign is actually in its original context a satanic sign that ancient Hebrew mystics imported along with countless other ‘traditions’ which became the Kabballah and similar offshoot practices expressly forbidden in The Bible and actually such kinds of practices were exactly what Jesus was rebelling against…another irony is that Kirk’s middle name is Tiberius, namesake of a cruel, vicious Roman emperor/caesar/praetor who was rabidly a rabid anti-Semite/anti-Christian, almost Nero-like (xdxdxd) in his ruthless application of said cruelty…

40, 41

While your points are well-taken, Posts 14, 21, 29 are just the rantings of yet another snarky pseudointellectual snob that are best ignored.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

Sounds like Mary Jane has been smoking too much of her own nickname for the drug!

Shatner doing the CD and the movie is not really a surprise, but the fact that he continues to hold Seders is.

Because if he does, it must simply be an observance of cultural heritage for him rather than a belief system, because over the years Shatner has made no secret of the fact that he’s an agnostic — he does not know or believe for a fact that God exists and whether or not there is an afterlife.

Star Trek V and his novel Believe both reflect this personal quest/quandary.

A sample of the book, for who ever wants to see it, is here:

Courtesy of Murray Spiegel, one of the authors.

Is it just me, or am I not alone in now thinking- nay, even dreaming- that when I die one day long down the road, and I start my journey up into the heavenly choir — way, way up in the clouds… is Shatner going to be God? – his large omnipresent face peering through the sky, much like Apollo had done to him so log ago? He seems to be smirking at me, as if he knows something more… and then he speaks to me…

“What’s that, sir?” I humbly say before his big giant head in the sky, “Uhhhh… may I ask, what does God want with a starship?”