HOW JEWISH IS SUPERMAN?
The series in which we investigate the Semitic qualities (or otherwise) of someone in the news Created in 1932 by Jewish comic-book writers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the man of steel has often been hailed as the embodiment of the Jewish American dream. Why, a current exhibition in Paris’s Museum of Jewish Art and History even claims him as one of ours. So is he?
Superman’s voyage to the distant shores of America is a quest for survival, escaping the Holocaust-style disaster consuming his native planet, Krypton. Born KalEl – suspiciously Hebrew-sounding — Superman chooses the much-less distinguished moniker Clark Kent as a way to assimilate. Indeed, by dating the nonJewish Lois Lane, Kent is clearly parodying the Jewish need to fit in. Plus, not only were both his creators Jewish, but so is the lawyer fighting Time Warner on behalf of Jerome Siegel’s widow Joanne, for more of Superman’s proceeds. AGAINST: Before you invite Superman to your next Shabbat dinner, remember that the hero adheres to no specific religion, was raised in the goyishe state of Kansas, and his adopted parents celebrate Christmas, not Chanucah. Plus, why would Clark Kent work in a newspaper office rather than, say, an estate agency? VERDICT: If he really were Jewish, Superman would not be trying to upstage the Messiah before his arrival. Plus, wouldn’t his mother have been on at him to stop wearing his pants outside his tights?