If Jews Were on Star Trek
by Jim Rosenberg, June 14, 1995
Just when I thought it was dry season for column ideas, I found the
following announcement of a new Internet mailing list:
"Trek-cochavim is an unmoderated discussion list for those who
want to discuss the Star Trek world from a Jewish perspective.
Some ideas for discussion include tips and suggestions on roles
Jews would have, and different ways plots could have developed if
Jews had been present in the series."
Well, have no fear because Rabbi Jim is here. It is with great joy that
I proceed to answer the question I had no idea anyone was asking: what
if Star Trek had been created by Gene Rodden*berg*? Let's not waste
another precious column inch wondering.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Cohen
*What roles would Jews have?* A Jewish crew would change old characters
and offer new ones. Scotty would be replaced Morty who would respond to
the Captain's demands for more power with a feisty "Oh, Mr. High and
Mighty Captain wants warp power, does he? Well, perhaps if you'd bought
those overstocked dilithium crystals from my brother-in-law we wouldn't
be in this mess!" I see some new roles: Dr. McCoy's unmarried sister;
Spock's brother who is dead to him for marrying outside the species;
Kirk's agent for endorsement deals back home "When a Starship Captain is
irregular, there's no time to slow down ..."
The Mr. Spock role could be turned on its head. Instead of a perfectly
logical being, it could be a manic depressive, Howie Mandel type.
Imagine turning to your No. 1 for counsel in a time of crisis -- never
knowing if you'd be met with a jittery, flustered ninny or a
tranquilized, depressed corpse. "Mr. Schmuck, the alien ship will have
full weapons capability in 25 seconds. Formulate options." "What's to
formulate? He wants me to formulate? There's no formulate -- we're
dead, dead, dead!"
In the role of the empathic Celestial Shrink, Fran Drescher ("The
Nanny") would play Counselor Oy! I doubt she'd agree to wear one of
those low cut unisex filling station style jump suits, though. She would
definitely replace the communicator badge with a gold broach, which is
just as well, because with an all Jewish crew, everybody would be
yelling at each other and no one would be listening anyway. In
emotional therapy sessions, Counselor Oy! would pull out a tissue and
sob "whenever you talk about your husband being eaten by the five-legged
wolves of Canker 6, I get so verklempt. Your time is up for today."
*What different ways would plots have developed if Jews had been present
in the series?* Well, for one thing, no Jew would have been the lone
Security Officer on a dangerous "away team." Those guys routinely get a
phaser blast to the noggin inside of a minute, and Jews are nothing if
not observant. Upon hearing "Ensign Glickstein, you're with me," the
likely response would be "Captain, I would like nothing better than to
be with you on this important mission. However, I feel I must point out
to you that it was I who just recently swept for mines on Montaldo 4.
Knowing how fair and just you are, I am certain you will wish to take
Ensign Anglo on this mission."
Undoubtedly, the Enterprise would be a more fun place. There would be
mah jongg in Ten Forward for the ladies, and a 24 hour gin rummy game
going in the mess hall ("yes you did -- I *saw* you cheating!"). Even
in the next century, I'm sure the prejudiced and paranoid will still
believe that Jews control the entertainment industry. It will just fuel
that fire when Captain Picard announces "Ladies and Gentlemen of the
Crew, your Captain is proud to present, in cooperation with Don Kirshner
IX, the Senior Officers, the Enterprise Alumni Association, and the
Terran Arts Council ... the celestial magic of Mr. David Copperfield.
If you will activate your stern viewer screens, you will witness Mr.
Copperfield attempt to make Menorah 6 disappear!"
With Jews on board the Enterprise, the job of Communications Officer
would be much more difficult. "Captain, I'm receiving *another*
subspace message from your mother. She wants you to stop at Sourpuss 6
to meet her friend's niece." "Lieutenant, please take us into the
Matzoh Nebulae." "But Captain, the nebulae's magnetic field will
interfere with all radio transmissions." "Take us in, Lieutenant --
take us in!"
Of course, the biggest change would be to the Prime Directive. Up to
now, this guiding principle governing all Star Trek explorers has been:
"do not interfere with alien cultures." This would have to be reworked
slightly to something like the following: "The United Federation of
Planets knows what's best for you. Eat, study hard, eat some more, and
you'll do just fine." End Transmission.