Shatner Reflects on Jewish Youth, Hope for Peace in Israel

By Michelle
November 8, 2006 - 6:55 PM

"I'm not a mechanic, much less a real space captain," William Shatner joked at a Jewish book fair where he spoke about his roles in entertainment and charity, saying that he takes real pleasure from writing about Captain Kirk's adventures.

"More and more I am finding that when I write about Captain Kirk, I am writing about me," Shatner told an audience at the Jewish Book Festival in St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Jewish Light. "Of course I know that Anthony Hopkins is not a cannibalistic serial killer in real life, but a real portrait of Captain Kirk has emerged over the past 40 me, he has lost friends, loved ones. He has come to appreciate the complexities of life as much as I have. We are both not as young and as brash, but we are both still handsome."

Shatner mixed wit with seriousness during his talk, in which he admitted, "I have also not saved the universe like Captain Kirk, nor have I fought crime like attorney Denny Crane from The Practice and Boston Legal. I am certainly not a prominent attorney with mad cow disease." He joked that being at the book fair reminded him of his Bar Mitzvah, though he noted that that was not in a gymnasium. "This is your 28th annual Jewish Book Festival, a long time, but not in my lifetime," the 75-year-old actor observed.

Though he spoke little about his own Jewish upbringing in Montreal, Shatner did describe the therapeutic riding program he is bringing to Israel with the assistance of the Jewish National Fund. "The idea came to me on a photographic safari we were taking, while driving in the Negev, and we came across a Bedouin Arab boy who beckoned to us. After our terrific Israeli guide, Amir and the boy had a confrontation over the boy's offer to show us his camels for a dollar, it occurred to me that there should be a way to bridge the gap among the different peoples in the Middle East," Shatner said.

He and his wife began a foundation to help Beouin, Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli children with disabilities. "The program brings kids from this war-torn area together to encourage peace through the incredible healing power the energy of the horses provides," Shatner explained. "We hope that this program will serve as a model of how we can come together despite differences for healing and hopefully for peace."

For more background on Shatner and the book festival, see the original article.

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