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During Covid-19 Greet People Vulcan Style (based on the Priestly Blessing!)

Live Long and Prosper

As I read the Torah portion each week, I look for something that inspires me to create a piece that will help illuminate God’s word. The Torah portion this Shabbat, Tetzaveh, goes into great detail about sacred garments for the priests, Aaron and his sons, to wear. In traditional synagogues the Priestly Blessing is offered by a direct descendent of Aaron, known as a kohen, who covers his head with a tallit and holds out both arms, palms down, with the fingers of each hand forming the Hebrew letter shin ש (which represents the name “Shaddai,” meaning “Almighty” God).

Being a lifelong Trekkie, this also makes me think of Leonard Nimoy and the now famous Vulcan salute, “Live long and prosper.” When we lived in New York, my husband Andy and I (devoted Trekkies that we were!) often went to Star Trek conventions. Through the years, we were fortunate to meet most of the original cast, including our favorite, Mr. Spock. Once we heard Leonard Nimoy tell the story of how he based the Vulcan salute on the Priestly Blessing he remembered from his childhood, when he went to synagogue with his grandfather.

I love this story—and it is what inspired my design this week. I know that many of us are deeply concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, and the uncertainty and unrest that it is causing. As I was reflecting on the Torah portion, and thinking about the saying “Live Long and Prosper,” I realized that if—in addition to washing our hands a LOT—we all greeted each other the “Vulcan way,” we could help reduce the chance of spreading the virus. I welcome you to share this image and spread the word!

Joanne Fink is world-renowned calligrapher, designer, author and teacher and founder of Zenspirations. Follow her on Instagram @JoanneFinkJudaica @Zenspirations.

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