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