The name’s Bond. Well, ac­tu­ally, it’s Shlomo

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SANDY RASHTY

FI­NALLY, THE se­cret is out: James Bond is a Jew.

That’s right, 007, Her Majesty’s most loyal se­cret ser­vant, the ap­ple of ev­ery woman’s eye, is a nice Yid­dishe boy.

At least, that is what more than 300 peo­ple were told at a Lim­mud ses­sion with Rabbi Raphael Zarum, of the Lon­don School of Jewish Stud­ies, on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Speak­ing at one of the con­fer­ence’s best-at­tended ses­sions, Dr Zarum told at­ten­dees that Ian Flem­ing’s most fa­mous char­ac­ter — who has been played on screen by Sean Con­nery, Roger Moore and, of late, Daniel Craig — is based on the life of a 19th-cen­tury Rus­sian-Jewish spy who worked for Bri­tain. His name? Sid­ney Reilly, born Shlomo Rosen­blum.

Dr Zarum ar­gued that, just like Reilly — who is widely con­sid­ered to be the first “su­per spy” — James Bond is an out­sider

Craig as Bond and mas­ter of de­cep­tion. “This ses­sion is fun, but it’s also se­ri­ous,” he said. “James Bond really is Jewish, I’m not making this up. Flem­ing used Reilly as a model for Bond. To be a spy you have to be a per­son out­side of the sys­tem — a Jew. It’s a great Jewish story.”

He went on to ar­gue that el­e­ments of Bond fic­tion had par­al­lels in the He­brew Bible and that James Bond’s name is based on the char­ac­ter of “Ja­cob”.

“James is the Chris­tian form of the name Ja­cob,” said Dr Zarum, “and Ja­cob had a lot of women, too,” he said, adding that Ja­cob’s bi­b­li­cal brother, Esav (Esau), was rep­re­sented in the vil­lain­ous char­ac­ters. At one point the au­di­ence laughed, to which the rabbi said: “You do what you want; I’m just telling you what the To­rah says.”

He added: “Bond’s story is a great mythic story. Myths and sto­ries are fun­da­men­tal to who we are.

“I do not see cin­ema as es­capism. I see it as re­in­forc­ing the­o­ries that we have deep in­side us.”

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