I think the eulogy given by William Shatner as Captain Kirk in the second Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan, says it all:
We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.Star Trek gave us hope of new worlds, of new ideas, in the midst of the strife of the 1960's. We need this encouragement even more today.
Spock was at once of us and foreign to us, half-human and half-Vulcan. Similarly, Nimoy, growing up an Orthodox Jew in Boston, probably felt something of the same dichotomy. When a Star Trek script called for Spock to make an "alien gesture," Nimoy reached back into his Jewish heritage, and used the Orthodox priestly blessing as the "Live Long and Prosper" sign we know so well:
I spent about 10 seconds in the presence of Messrs. Nimoy and Shatner at the Star Trek convention in 2004. We were not quite on a first-name basis, although at one point I was one of William Shatner's 5,000 Facebook friends. Still, like millions of fans today, I feel like I've lost a close friend; these actors and their characters have been part of our lives, well, for most of our lives.
But as DeForrest Kelley's Dr. McCoy said at the end of The Wrath of Khan, "He's not really gone as long as we find a way to remember him." Perhaps not completely logical, but true nonetheless.
I have to add one little thing on this, the day of Mr. Nimoy's funeral. I was searching the Official Leonard Nimoy Online Shop (shopLLAP.com) for something he had touched or otherwise autographed. I came upon his signed self-portraits in the photography section, housed by R. Michelson Galleries, and ultimately found this one for sale:
It's called "Self-Portrait with MRI". Well, even Spock made a mistake here and there... The signed versions may be a little pricey, but this is priceless. I'm waiting on a quote...