The Leonard Nimoy connection certainly rings true, but the gesture
is not used by Rabbis. It's used by the priestly sect, the Kohanim (all
those Jewish people you know as Joe Cohen, Jim Cogan, etc...) who are
patriliniarly descended (supposedly) from the original high priest (Kohen
HaGadol) Aaron, brother of Moses. The Kohanim get up at a particular
point during prayer services and bless the congregation (Birkat Kohanim),
which involves taking off their shoes, putting their prayer shawls (Talitim)
over their heads, doing the finger-spread thing, and singing the appropriate
liturgy. As far as I know,
it does NOT represent the letter shin. (shin has 3 prongs - looks a bit like
a W). Another interesting bit of trivia in this: For the rest of us assembled,
we're not supposed to look at them while their doing this, but rather look
down into our prayer books. If we look straight at them, we're supposed
to be blinded. It's a fake, though; I look regularly, cynic that I am.
Isn't that kind of like the one about being blinded from too much
self love? I guess that one doesn't work either, as any adolescent can
tell you :-).
Based on this, how accurate is the rest of the trivia?
Eg, at the rate that McDonalds opens franchises surely by now they have
a location in Montpellier Vt?