From early astronomy to Star Trek, Baltimore museum explores the celestial fascination of Jewish scholars, artists

During the early years of the first “Star Trek” TV series, when a producer asked actor Leonard Nimoy to develop a sign of greeting for his character Spock to use, Nimoy flashed on a childhood memory.

What popped into his mind was a synagogue service in which several rabbis raised their hands, split their pinkie and ring fingers from their middle and index fingers to form a wide V, and started chanting in Hebrew.

And that’s how the Birkat Kohanim — a sign of Jewish blessing that dates to the time of Moses — inspired the “Vulcan salute,” the hand sign that became Spock’s signature and an icon of Western pop culture.

The story, first shared by Nimoy in his 1975 autobiography, “I Am Not Spock,” isn’t the only example of Judaism intersecting the universes of space study and science fiction. It’s a connection as old as the Torah, and

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