Should Jews be thrilled for Disney series?


(JNS) Jews kvell when an athlete is Jewish. When it’s a superhero, it’s even better.

Disney’s riveting series “Moon Knight” features what is believed to be the first overtly Jewish Marvel character in a major film or series in the form of alter-ego Marc Spector.

In the show’s fifth episode on Disney+, Spector is seen wearing a yarmulke as he is supposed to attend his mother’s shiva. But he can’t bring himself to enter because she was violent towards him, blaming him for when he and his brother entered a cave, and his brother drowned. We see actor Oscar Isaac, as Spector, throwing his kippah on the ground and then picking it up in grief, almost apologetically. He’s the son of a rabbi in the comics, not that we see any evidence of that in the show, though we do see other parents wearing a tallit and yarmulke.

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“Marc’s emotional outpouring during his mother’s shiva was compelling, and his wringing of his kipah was a well-described externalization of deep grief,” Federation Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Menachem Creditor told JNS. UJA. “It was not about Jewish identity, but rather about sanity and grief manifested through Jewish symbolic framing.”

Filmmaker, photographer and comic book guru Saul Sudin pointed out that Marc Spector’s comic book version is decidedly more Jewish.

“In the comics, Spector’s father being a rabbi and his history with anti-Semitism played a major role in some stories and versions of the character,” Sudin said. “The show threw them away and we got a vaguely nebulous, but underdeveloped version of his father. It is unclear what their religiosity or practice actually is. I would have liked more clarity and authenticity on screen because the overtly Jewish scenes are shiva scenes, but beyond a few candlesticks and a displaced Hasidic man in the background, we only get not much else.

Comic book fan Sruli Broocker said he’s been obsessed with Jewish representation among superheroes for more than three decades. He thought it was interesting to take Marc’s trauma away from anti-Semitism and have him come from an abusive mother who blames him for her brother’s death.

“I don’t think we should continue to re-explore the Holocaust,” Broocker said. “I’m hoping to see a Kabbalah-related scene because Kabbalah is about chaos and repair, and it’s definitely happening and it’s a need for the character.”

‘Is it perfect? Nope’

“Moon Knight” has Marc Spector’s alter ego, Steven Grant, who speaks with a British accent and isn’t as tough as Spector, who did Khonshu’s bidding. Oscar Isaac is well behaved, as is scary and charismatic Ethan Hawke as cult leader Arthur Harrow and former avatar of Khonshu (a member of the Ennead, the Heliopolitan race of gods worshiped by the people of ancient Egypt; the God of the Moon), who is now the avatar of the goddess Ammit.

Using Ammit’s power, Harrow can touch a person’s wrist with his own tattoos, which will show scales to weigh good and evil to tell him if the person is going to commit a sin. If so, the person dies immediately.

Khonshu is voiced by veteran Jewish actor F. Murray Abraham. Alan Zelenetz is credited with writing Marc Spector’s Jewish origin story in “Moon Knight,” and there is later a villain named Zohar in the comics who learns Kabbalah and wants to keep all secrets to himself. -same.

Some fans of DC Comics – that alternate universe of superheroes – were thrilled to learn that Barry Allen, who becomes “The Flash”, would be Jewish and played by Jewish actor Ezra Miller, but were then disappointed when only one line entered the film. allude to his Jewishness.

Arye Dworken, a pop culture journalist who also works in advertising, said it was cool to see his religion recognized in a Marvel character and notes that a Muslim character will follow.

Dworken said he liked “Moon Knight,” but felt it might have been better as a two-hour movie. He commented that people seem to have a knee-jerk reaction to wondering if the scene or series is Jewish enough. But that, he says, misses the point.

“Is it perfect? No,” he admitted. “Is this a start? Yes.”

Still, he added, “I don’t know what the test is to show if something is Jewish enough, and I don’t think that should be the goal.” PJC


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