Sunday, August 25, 2013

19 Elul

Sticking his head into my office for the first time, a 6-year-old saw the various superhero pictures and trinkets that dominate my decor.  He laughed and asked, “Is Superman Jewish?”  I told him that someday he and I could sit and talk about all the ways Superman shows us how to be better Jews.  (And yes, it was difficult for me not to deliver a 6-year-old version of my thesis, but that’s another story for another time.)  Many authors have written lately on Superman’s Jewish roots, intentional or perceived, and many of us have heard the comparisons between Superman and Moses.  But Superman isn’t the only hero with Jewish roots.  The superhero motif (an estranged or orphaned young person getting the call to be something greater who eventually goes on to save their world) is all over the Bible.  From Moses to Samson to King David to Captain America, fictional heroes achieving impossible goals are a constant source of awe and inspiration.  They show us that they can overcome the most adversarial conditions, and they do it in a way that promotes justice while not infringing on the rights of others.  Is there anything more Jewish than that?

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