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CSBG Archive

Top Five Jewish Superheroes

This time around, we’re looking for the top five superheroes who are Jewish!

Enjoy!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Colossal Boy

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Colossal Boy is cool.

Not THAT cool, though.

Colossal Boy was established as Jewish conveniently soon after Kitty Pryde debuted in Uncanny X-Men. Remember, Colossal Boy is from Earth.

Prime

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Prime was a neat character. A nice take-off of Captain Marvel. I’d like to see more of him.

Sabra

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Sabra is pretty neat. I wasn’t thrilled by her use in Union Jack, though. Although I AM glad to have her being used, period!

SPECIAL HONORABLE MENTIONS BECAUSE THEY’RE ONLY CONSIDERED JEWISH BECAUSE OF THEIR LAST NAMES

Two-Gun Kid

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I HATE having him off the list, as he is awesome, but it’s a tough list!

And he’s only on because of his retconned birth name, Matthew Liebowicz. That sort of name back in the old West is almost certainly Jewish, but it is not DEFINITIVE (unless it has been proven somewhere else), so I’ll leave him off!!

Nite-Owl

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The guy is one of the stars of Watchmen! That is practically enough to be on the list in and of itself!! Luckily, he is also a really cool character.

I always figured he was Jewish, and most sites listing Jewish heroes have him on it, but yeah, it’s only based on his last name, so I agree – not enough!!

5. Justice

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I really like Justice – I like that he is being used in Avengers: Initiative!

I think I liked him better with Firestar than with Ultra Girl, though.

4. Songbird

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If I’m unsure of any character, it would be Songbird.

But consarnit, Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza and Warren Ellis have done such a good job with her, so I can’t not have her on the list!!

3. Doc Samson

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I really liked the new take on Samson that Peter David introduced. He’s a lot cooler of a character nowadays.

2. Kitty Pryde

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The greatest POV character ever?

1. The Thing

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Duh! It’s the Thing, for crying out loud!!

106 Comments

When I saw the title, my guesses were Colossal Boy, Kitty Pryde, Ragman, Seraph… I think that’s all I had.

Oh: Arthur, I suppose; I should have thought of Arthur.

I didn’t even know about most of these guys.

Alright! Somebody actually acknowledges Doc Samson. What about Moon Knight though? He was brought up as Jewish, even though he follows ancient Egyptian rites.

What!?! No Ragman? Oy!

That Hulk cover cracks me up, though- not only do we get a quintessential 90′s rubber-spined pose for Sabra, but the cover copy- “There’s something unnatural about that child…” – ya think? What gave it away?

How is Collosal Boy Jewish? He’s an alien!

How is Colossal Boy Jewish? He’s an alien!

Actually, I do believe he’s from Earth in LSH history…

Colossal Boy [at least until the WKRP threeboot ] was always human (and Jewish). He got his powers from exposure to some radioactive meteor.

Ok, I’m lost. When was Colossal Boy established as Jewish? Or Two-Gun Kid? (I’ll re-read WATCHMEN to answer the Nite-Owl question myself.)

I would’ve given at least an honorable mention to The Acidic Jew, from Troy Hickman’s COMMON GROUNDS.

Colossal Boy’s still human; he’s an Earthling from a city in Antarctica called Big City because it and its inhabitants were grown to giant size by Bizarro-Brainiac.

He’s been Jewish for as long as I’ve been reading the Legion; I imagine it was established in the ’60s or ’70s.

No “the Escapist?”

Kitty made the list, and 2nd to boot! I can go to sleep happy.

I think Moon Knight actively practicing a different religion disqualified him. Just a guess.

Nite-Owl? Great, now I need to re-read Watchmen looking for a hidden Star of David (unless there was a blindingly obvious reference I missed).

I knew Kitty had to be on the list and I knew she had to be at the top of it. She’s #1 in my book, but I have to give Grimm the nod as he’s such a fantastic character

The Nightowl thing might just be because his name’s ‘Dreiberg’.

I saw the post title and immediately thought, “As much as people love Kitty Pryde, it still has to be Ben Grimm.” Good to se Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew get the nod.

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 4, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Colossal Boy married an alien, if memory serves me right.

Colossal Boy was established as Jewish in either the first Levitz run or Gerry Conway’s short run. His wife was a Durlan named Yera who had been posing as Shrinking Violet (he found out well before marrying her though).

Yes, he did. A whole story was dedicated to him telling the deal to his mother. The very last panel mentions her wish to convince the couple to raise their children as Judaism practicioners.

Matthew E (no relation) said: The Nightowl thing might just be because his name’s ‘Dreiberg’.

I don’t really think just a name is enough, since there’s non-Jews with Jewish sounding names.

Agreed, Conor!

As to some of the ones not mentioned, I considered Arthur, Ragman and Escapist, but if I kept adding honorable mentions, it’d be nuts.

Colossal Boy’s Jewish background was established, I think, in a mid-70s holiday special. I don’t think it had been mentioned up to that point. I always thought that it was based on the coincidence that his last name (Allon) was shared by an Israeli politician at the time, Yigal Allon.

Another Jewish superhero you left out is Atom Smasher/Nuklon (Al Rothstein).

With regard to Two-Gun Kid, I’m not sure that having a retconned Polish last name is enough to put him on a list of Jewish characters. Maybe if he had Mogen David-shaped spurs . . .

Matt Wagner and Steven Seagle established in Sandman Mystery Theatre that Wesley Dodds’ mother was Jewish . . . which makes Wesley Jewish, even though his father was Catholic.

Why is Arthur not on this list? I mean, seriously. There was a comic where he explained Hannukah to the Tick. It does not get much more Jewish than that!

For extreme nerdness see this site:
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html
the religious affilation of superheroes.

kind of interesting how many marvel characters showed up here. dc has a couple honorable mentions, but one of them is just based on his name.

Since when is Songbird Jewish?

No Atom-Smasher (Albert Rothstein)? He should get bonus points for being one of the few canon Orthodox Jews. (For example, none of the people in the top 5 are Orthodox-you can tell because none of them keep their head covered.)

Arthur’s not a superhero — he’s a sidekick.

Albert Rothstein can’t be an Orthodox Jew. His very first costume left his head uncovered to show off his mohawk.

Question: How many of them are really Jewish – that is, they regularly point it out, wear symbolism, refuse to fight on Rosh Hoshanah (sp)? And how many are Jewish because the writer tossed it in briefly? (Kind of a ‘no Christmas, I celebrate Hanukkah’ which is never mentioned again).

I know Kitty Pryde mentioned it frequently. I can’t speak for Grimm because I wasn’t a follower of the Fantastic 4.

I will point out that the cover to that Hulk issue didn’t “give away” anything…you’re told from moment one of the story that the kid is prophesied to be the next Hitler, a powerful dictator who will crush the world beneath his heel with mind-control powers.

In fact, the twist is that the kid isn’t as bad as you think…but I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a pretty good two-parter. (IIRC, that cover is from part two.)

I don’t remember when Ben Grimm’s status as a Jew was ever explicitly addressed in the Fantastic Four comics. It may have been mentioned in Marvel Two-in-One or other Thing comic, though.

I’ve always read Nite Owl as Jewish. There is no explicit mention of it anywhere in Watchmen either, but his appearance, name, personality, and background all seem (stereo?)typically Jewish to me.

"O" the Humanatee!

January 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm

What would be the relevance of Colossal Boy’s being or not being an alien? There is such a thing as conversion. Jews don’t typically proselytize, but conversions are possible. And as far as I know, neither Judaism nor any religion (well, major religion – I don’t know about cults) has yet worked out whether sentient non-humans can join.

Haven’t any of Howard Chaykin’s characters been established as Jews? I have a vague recollection that Reuben Flagg was Jewish.

Am I crazy, or was there not a pre-Crisis story that showed the Atom as jewish?

"O" the Humanatee!

January 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Cat Skyfire:

What do you mean by “really Jewish”? Conversions aside, the religion itself generally accepts all those with Jewish mothers as Jewish, regardless of whether or not they practice the faith actively. It’s that old “Is it a religion or an ethnicity?” paradox, and the answer is, it’s both. I’m not religious (well, I light the occasional menorah), but my parents are Jewish, and as far as I know I should, for example, be able to immigrate to Israel based on that alone.

Besides, very few superhero comics characters are shown practicing religion, yet the default assumption would seem to be that they’re Christians (even if only by family tradition) unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.

A Jewish non-superhero character I always liked was Steve Rogers’s old girlfriend Bernie (Bernadette) Rosenthal. There was for me something heartwarming about seeing the rather white-bread incarnation of all that is America (and don’t get me wrong, I love Cap) “embracing the other.” (It didn’t hurt that at that time Steve and Bernie lived in Brooklyn Heights, where I grew up.)

On Ray Palmer’s being Jewish: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/Atom.html

More on Colossal Boy: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/ColossalBoy.html

Um, for someone who has never lived in a major metropolis, how are you supposed to differentiate a German name from a Jewish name?

Re: The Thing.

Just before Mark Waid’s run on Fantastic Four, there was a one-shot issue where Ben was revealed to be a lapsed(non-practicing) Jew. He read a Jewish prayer for the dying over the body of a dead man, and had a chat with a rabbi from his old Yancy Street neighborhood.

Later, in the last issue of Dan Slott’s “The Thing”(let’s not start that joke up again!), Ben had a long-overdue bar mitzvah, followed by a big super-hero poker game(and then later an intimate and off-page evening with Alicia). This was the last time we saw super-heroes in the MU actually just having fun together before Civil War.

Is Monolith Jewish? He was a Golem. And to answer another question, Colossal Boy is still jewish in the Waid reboot. He was hiding some Legionnaires at his brother’s place, and his brother had a Star of David necklace hanging off of something, very subtle, but as a Jew, I caught it immeadiately.

If we’re talking about Jewish comic book characters and not simply heroes, Magneto needs to be mentioned (and it’s worth noting that while he’s definitely Jewish, his various children are definitely not Jewish since Magneto’s wife was Roma.)

Harley Quinn is also Jewish, but obviously not very religious or a hero.

I don’t remember when Ben Grimm’s status as a Jew was ever explicitly addressed in the Fantastic Four comics. It may have been mentioned in Marvel Two-in-One or other Thing comic, though.

I thought it was established from the obvious circumcision outlined in his shorts

CBrown: You’re not crazy. That’s a real story. And as far as I’m aware, it’s still in continuity.

Thok: Magneto’s origin has fluctuated between being Jewish and Gypsy. Different writers have said different things. The last time it was mentioned in the comics, he was Roma, but the film version’s Jewishness is implied.

Kirayoshi: Shema is not a prayer for the dying. Jews don’t actually have such a prayer. Religious Jews will recite the Shema twice a day, every day. It’s basically the one sentence in the bible which can boil down to representing one’s faith in god. And thus, many Jews hope for it to be the final words to cross their lips before dying – affirming their faith in god even as they’re passing away.

Cat Skyfire:

really Jewish – that is, they regularly point it out, wear symbolism, refuse to fight on Rosh Hoshanah

I understand what you mean by this. Unfortunately, none of the examples you make are requirements of even Orthodox Judaism, including fighting on Rosh Hashanah. Because fighting is not work. And there’s a rule that life saving cancels the prohibitions of a sabbath or holiday.
And Jews don’t really wear symbolism. The Magen Dovid was created later than the Talmud, probably not by Jews, and adopted as a symbol, but Jews have no tradition to wear it. Especially when a skullcap serves to identify oneself as Jewish quite nicely. And many practicing Jews won’t make a point of it. They just ARE. And they go about their lives working its various restrictions in – WITHOUT MAKING A BIG DEAL ABOUT THEM. This is as much a survival mechanism as anything else. Draw attention to something in a positive way, and others will draw attention to it in a negative way. A better example of a Jewish character practicing would be a scene where somebody walks into their bedroom and they’re wearing tefillin. Or the dialogue catching the tail end of a blessing for food as someone else walks in to the dining hall.

Thok: I wasn’t aware that Atom Smasher was Orthodox – which, for the record, means practicing Judaism according to the traditional manner. Especially odd if that were the case is his relationship with Courtney Starsmore, who, much as I love her, is still a shikseh.

More about the above: Orthodox refers only to one’s practice. If a person’s parents are Orthodox and he, say, doesn’t keep Kosher, well, he’s NOT Orthodox. He’s Jewish, but not Orthodox.

John Trumbull: The head covering issue is actually a bit different. Most Jews in the United States didn’t wear skullcaps/yarmulkes/kippahs until 1967, specifically, following the Six-Day War, when it suddenly became, if not cool, then at least Okay to be openly Jewish. Until then, however, many would not wear a head covering in public due to (justified) fears of discrimination. Even nowadays, not all Orthodox Jews wear their kippahs in the workplace. Most WILL wear a hat when outdoors, though. Also, I dare you to try to keep a kippah on while in the midst of battle. It’ll be like fight, fight, fight, time out – my kippah fell off – fight, fight, fight, fight, damn – it happened again! – fight, fight…
You get the picture.

If my costume didn’t have a hood (ah, but it DOES!) I probably wouldn’t wear a skullcap while superheroing either.

Brian Levy: Ah, but Golems can’t be Jewish. Recall, they’re artificial constructions made of clay, with limited or no sentience. It’s like saying a fish is Jewish. Or a rock. Or a robot. Except for Atomic Robo. He’s DEFINITELY Jewish! (see his myspace page)

Atomic Robo is a Jew:
http://atomic-robo.livejournal.com/
entry date: 20 November 2007 @ 11:31 pm

Mike:

I thought it was established from the obvious circumcision outlined in his shorts

I think his Mohel must have slipped. Oops!

What? No Ambush Bug?

Granted, he really hasn’t been much of a “hero”… and he’s headlined a one-shot “Stocking Stuffer Special”… not to mention that the issue of his religion has never been made explicitly clear, but c’mon… “Irwin Schwab”? Doesn’t strike me as a WASP’s name. You?

The issue that addressed Ben Grimm’s faith was Fantastic Four (vol 3) #56, “Remembrance of Things Past,” by Karl Kesel and Stuart Immonen. The reason Ben gave for not practicing was that he didn’t want to give the public a reason to associate Judaism with a monster like himself. He did say that he didn’t bother to hide it, and anyone with Internet access could find out easily enough, but that he didn’t “talk it up.” A wonderful, touching issue, with a fabulous last line. It made minor press at the time the issue came out, and I believe Lee was quoted as saying that Ben was always Jewish, but they couldn’t be overt about it in the 60s.

There was a Jewish super heroine (can’t remember the name) from TMNT who protected Israel.

Marvel has a human character or two named “Golem”, and I vaguely recall them as being jewish (naturally enough, I guess, since the whole idea is that the Golem is a protector of the Jewish People).

IIRC, so does DC, come to think of it? Or am I misremembering?

As for Nuklon, there is always the possibility that he was non-Ortodox early on his career, but changed his practice later. Unless of course some story shows otherwise.

Rueben Flagg is definitely Jewish. He isn’t exactly *super*, though, and I think you could argue that he’s more of an antihero than a hero.

I remember that the Thing fought one villain who found out he was Jewish, and the villain (as he was being arrested) said “you’re Jewish?” and Ben said “yeah,you got a problem with that?” and the villain said the classic line “no, it’s just that you don’t look Jewish.”

I’ve heard the argument that Superman, while not overtly Jewish, is at least thematically Jewish. (“Kal El” is a Hebrew name, etc.) Of course, the number of Jewish creators would make a much, much longer list.

Marvel has two Golems of note: the first appeared in the 1970s Strange Tales revival, and was apparently the original Golem of Prague created by Rabbi Judah Loew Ben Bezazel. Revived in modern times, it acted to protect Abraham Adamson and his family, mainly from the unfortunately-named evil mystic Kabbalah.

The second was Jacob Goldstein, a Jewish man in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II who was magically transformed into a golem-like being. He was twice extorted into aiding the Nazis by means of threats against his scientist brother, but both times was aided by members of the Invaders.

At DC, there are a panoply of Golems: in addition to the already-mentioned Monolith, a giant variant with its own very brief comic title, and the Ragman, retconned in the 1990s as a sort of “golem-suit” that consumed the souls of evildoers, there are at least two others:

The Hayoth was a team of Israeli super-soldiers introduced in the latter issues of the first volume of Suicide Squad. In addition to the ninja-like Judith, the artificial intelligence called Dybbuk, and the Kabbalistic magician Ramban, they also numbered the Golem, a metahuman who could transform into stone, clay, oil, or air.

Another Golem was introduced as a childlike innocent seeking to earn his soul in the 1990 Ragman miniseries, and ended up in the care of an elderly woman in Louisiana. This Golem went on to join Primal Force with some vague allusions to being framed for the woman’s murder. In that title, his ambition to become human as in the legends took an unfortunate term as he tried shortcuts like resculpting and painting himself to appear more normal, and so on. Seemingly killed by the Satanic order known as the August, he was revived in his original, cruder form by the apparent daughter of Doctor Mist and participated in the team’s final battles against Cataclysm and Lord Satanus.

Here’s my theory on Magneto: he was originally conceived as Roma, and one writer took that and wrote a story indicating that Magneto was a Holocaust survivor, as Roma were persecuted in the Holocaust along with Jews. Another writer, however, saw the Holocaust story and assumed that it meant that Magneto was Jewish. I could be wrong, however.

My guess is that most of this dates back to the 70s, as before that overt mentions of religion or ethnicity (outside of characters getting their powers from “the mysterious East”) was very rare.

BTW, the adherents site is brilliant. You should check it out.

I think DC gets short shrift on the list. According to Adherents, the Atom, Batwoman, Dr. Fate, Firestorm (at least one of each), and Ultra Boy are all Jewish.

You also forgot a really cool one. if minor character: Judah Maccabee from Nexus: an alien convert.

Adherents is off on a number of heroes, most notably the Atom (in the comic that I suspect is being referenced to show he is Jewish they specifically have him mention how he isn’t Jewish when he is visiting a Jewish friend).

I was just about to mention Judah the Hammer. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of him.

Judah was separated from his parents as a child and somehow ended up in a colony of rabbis, who raised him Jewish. His Jewish faith is usually not a big issue, but in one story (Hammer of God #3 maybe) he is seen asking his rabbi for advice on an important decision.


Adherents is off on a number of heroes, most notably the Atom (they specifically have him mention how he isn’t Jewish when he is visiting a Jewish friend).”

He doesn’t say that, he says he’s “not very religious.” He is a scientist, which suggests to me he could be ethnically Jewish but not practising. (They specifically called him a “lapsed” Jew, which is a bit of a misnomer; “lapsed” usually refers to non-practising Catholics).

I’d give the Adherents site some credit; they are essentially, like wikipedia, only as accurate as their contributors, but they do a good job of raising the questions. You also forgot The Spectre and the Phantom Stranger, both of whom are metaphysical beings that owe a lot of their origins to the Old Testament.

Metaphysical beings do not have religion. That’s like saying that god is Jewish, or that angels are Jewish. Only humans (or aliens, or Atomic Robo) can be Jewish. Religion requires free will. (Let’s not argue whether or not the Stranger and the PS have free will. Opinions differ, based on the writer.) The Spectre and the Stranger are both beings fulfilling their roles in the universe, plain and simple.

God is not Jewish. God cannot be Jewish. God simply IS.

God is not Jewish. God cannot be Jewish. God simply IS.

Though the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation suggests that the Christian God was Jewish, if only for a period of about 33 years.

“Metaphysical beings do not have religion. That’s like saying that god is Jewish, or that angels are Jewish. Only humans (or aliens, or Atomic Robo) can be Jewish. Religion requires free will. (Let’s not argue whether or not the Stranger and the PS have free will. Opinions differ, based on the writer.) The Spectre and the Stranger are both beings fulfilling their roles in the universe, plain and simple.
God is not Jewish. God cannot be Jewish. God simply IS.”

Maybe so, but the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger definitely stem from an at very least Judeo-Christian mythology. (As well, the Spectre has always had a human host). DC has purposely made the Phantom Stranger’s origin inconclusive, but in at least two versions he comes from a distinctly Judeo-Christian background.

Adherents is great.

Just saying that they’re off on a number of heroes.


Adherents is great.
Just saying that they’re off on a number of heroes.”

That’s cool. i just think it’s a nice site. I’m not sure what the hell they mean by “Jewish Catholic,” though.

I reiterate: Since when is Songbird Jewish?

Omar: LOL

Dave: You’re not getting the point. Just because a being has its origins in Judeo-Christian mythology does not make that being an adherent, or even a MEMBER, of said religion. It’s like saying that the burning bush was Jewish. Or that the tree of life was Jewish. Or the serpent. Hell, even Adam and Eve were not JEWISH. There were no Jews until Abraham, 20 generations later. Sure, there were monotheists, but that is not the same thing at all.


Dave: You’re not getting the point. Just because a being has its origins in Judeo-Christian mythology does not make that being an adherent, or even a MEMBER, of said religion. It’s like saying that the burning bush was Jewish. Or that the tree of life was Jewish. Or the serpent. Hell, even Adam and Eve were not JEWISH. There were no Jews until Abraham, 20 generations later. Sure, there were monotheists, but that is not the same thing at all.”

Nonetheless, they still come from that tradition, just as Thor comes from Norse mythology and Wonder Woman (sorta) comes from the Olympian mythos.

And actually, If the Phantom Stranger is (as he is according to one version) the Wandering Jew, then he would be in fact Jewish. And the Spectre is currently Hal Jordan, who is “Jewish Catholic” (whatever that means).

Actually, I just checked and Hal Jordan is no longer the Spectre.


on 06 Jan 2008 at 5:05 pm 64.Michael said …
I reiterate: Since when is Songbird Jewish?”

It seems pretty clear she is, if you read the literature.

Frankgerminiani

January 6, 2008 at 6:04 pm

What about uncut (uncircusized) heroes as a theme for another topic?

I reiterate: Since when is Songbird Jewish?

Originally, she had the quite ethnically marked name Mimi Schwartz.

Later, Kurt Busiek’s Thunderbolts revealed that her real name was Melissa Joan Gold, rather than her original “Mimi Schwartz” pseudonym, but had her dropping Yiddish and Yinglish phrases in her speech.

On a more general note, not just aimed at Michael, this sort of clumsy hinting is about as close as most superhero comics get to portraying a character’s religiosity; you’re not generally going to see a character at worship services or the like, even if we’ve been informed of their religion.

There was no “Special Passover Seder Issue” of Moon Knight, for instance, even though we’re explicitly told that Marc Spector was Jewish by upbringing. And outside of Matt Murdock, I don’t recall many of the characters we’ve been explicitly told are Catholic actually attending church; this doesn’t mean they’re not intended to be Catholic.

And then there are the characters for whom religious belief is very hard to pin down at all. What religion is Johnny Storm, for instance, or Captain America? Generically Christian, one supposed, but in decades of appearances it’s quite hard to find solid — rather than merely oblique or indirect — evidence of a denominational preference.

I have to second the motion that you can’t guess a person’s religion based on a name. Colossal Boy’s name Gim Allon never struck me as sounding Jewish. (Okay, maybe in a few centuries.)

I agree that the PS and Spectre are definitely representative of Judeo-Christian mythology – as is the current origin of Eclipso. You still don’t seem to understand what I mean when I say that that does not make them JEWISH. People are Jewish. Concepts are not. The Spectre is a non-religious entity serving a Judeo-Christian deity. Also, keep in mind that the entity of the Spectre requires a host. And NONE of the hosts we’ve seen have been Jewish.

As to the PS being the “Wandering Jew” referred to in Matthew, don’t you think that 2000 years of doing penance for mocking Jesus would cause someone to become CHRISTIAN? Added to the fact that he’s still ALIVE 2000 years later? Of course, this depiction of Jesus as a vengeful man conflicts with his depiction in other gospels. And this vindictiveness is also one of the reasons that the Infancy Gospels were rejected from the canon. Therefore, many Chirstians believe it to be an allegorical tale.
And as to those who believe it to be an actual event, it has led to an unbelievable amount of anti-semitism throughout the ages.
So even if the Phantom Stranger WERE the “Wandering Jew”, I think that by this point he’d have accepted Jesus as his lord and would no longer be considered Jewish. Most Jewish authorities concur that when a conversion is accompanied by an actual ACT, another opposing ACT is required in order for the person to return to their original status as a Jew.

And where are you deriving this PS reference from anyways?

Dave: We seem to be getting off topic. The original posting was characters who ARE Jews. Not who are DERIVED from Judeo-Christian mythology. If god was a character in the DCU you can’t truly tell me you’d classify him/her as Jewish or Christian, any more than you could classify Rama Kushna as Buddhist, or whatever. Deadman, sure.
Come on, take a think, and you’ll see I’m right on this.

Acespot: DC created four distinct origins for the Phantom Stranger. For more detail please see http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/PhantomStranger.html

Acespot-

You have been right on through this thread, but there is one point I’d like to make about the “prayer for the dead” thing. I haven’t read the issue, but could ben have said the Mourner’s Kaddish? Not a prayer for the dying, but it is a prayer for the dead.

I believe that in that story he was saying Shema with Sheckie as he died.

However…
The Mourner’s Kaddish isn’t ACTUALLY a prayer for the dead. It’s actually a prayer praising all aspects of god. A few pertinent quotes:

Yisgadal v’yiskadash shmei raba
May his great name grow exalted and sanctified.

Yisbarach v’yishtabach, v’yispoar, v’yisromam, v’yisnaseh, v’yishadar, v’yis’aleh, v’yis’halal shmei d’kudsha brich hu
Blessed, and praised, and glorified, and exalted, and extolled, and mighty, and lauded be the name of the holy one, blessed is he.

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom, aleinu v’al kol yisrael.
He who makes peace in his heights, may he make peace upon us, and upon all Israel.

The point of a mourner saying this prayer which is obviously praising god to tremendous extremes is to show god that even in the face of sorrow and loss, the mourner praises him/her/it.

Many people erroneously believe the kaddish to be a prayer for the dead, simply because it is recited by a mourner, without actually paying attention to what the words actually mean. However, there are various forms of the Kaddish, this being the second shortest, and all (except for an esoteric form expounded in the Talmud) are regular parts of the daily prayers.

There IS a prayer for the dead in Judaism. It is called an El Ma’ley, several forms of which are included in the Yizkor prayer for the dead which is said four times a year.

An abridged text of the El Ma’ley is as follows:
Oh god, full of mercy, who dwells on high, grant proper rest on the wings of the divine presence – in the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament – for the soul of…May his resting place be in the garden of eden – therefore may the master of mercy shelter him in the shelter of his wings for eternity; and may he bind his soul in the bond of life. God is his heritage, and may he repose in peace on his resting place.

The Yizkor prayer is as follows:
May god remember the soul of…who has gone on to his world…may his soul be bound in the bond of life, together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah; and together with the other righteous men and women in the garden of eden.

Modifications for certain groups of individuals are made to both these prayers.

THESE are the prayers for the dead – NOT the Kaddish.

Hope this helps.

I’d forgotten the wandering Jew origin. Possibly because it pales in poignancy to the fallen angel story written by Alan Moore in Secret Origins.

If the WJ story is to be accepted as DC canon, my arguments above that even if originally a Jew, he MUST by now be a Christian – as in believing in Jesus as the lord, or the son of god, or whatever – stands.

Man, that was a fantastic Alan Moore story.

God cannot be Jewish. God simply IS.

Like Darkseid!

Kitty Pryde and the Things aren’t just great Jewish characters, they are easily top 20 in my book for all Marvel characters.

This is why I have to stop playing Bible Baseball on the Rosh. I have been served.

Magneto was pretty much established by Claremont as being Jewish. When Marvel turned him into a mega villain again in the 90′s, he was suddenly named Eric Leshner and was decalred a gypsy (I always assumed this was due to Marvel’s fear of being picketed by protest groups for having an evil Jew…gypsy’s don’t have much political sway these days). The movies have him as Jewish, and the more recent comics declared the Leshner name as fake ID and have generarly confirmed, once again, him being Jewish.

WAAAAAAYYYYYYY back in the R.A.C days on Usenet, when I made the original online Jewish Super-heroes list, lots of “discussion” centered on me putting Superman on the list (he’s Jewish in real world terms, but not in-continuity..and it was my list so there!).

There’s a book, I’ve not read but mean to get, called “Up Up and Oy Vey” that discusses the Jewish roots and influence on comic super heroes.

Getting back to the Monolith- wasn’t he partially animated by the blood of Alice Cohen’s grandmother’s boyfriend? So that would make him a little Jewish, I’d think…

Acespot, while I see your point about the Wandering Jew, I think it is clearly a mistake to take that myth _that_ seriously. For one thing, the idea of embracing as God the one person who decided to chastise you for millenia is quite weird. That looks like a sure-fire recipe for making one a Maltheist, not a Christian.

Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the origin of Deadman’s villain Jonah, from the mid-1980s miniseries.

What I meant by that is that after having lived for 2000 years longer than he expected, PS must have come to the conclusion that the man Jesus had some sort of POWER. Power to change the natural order as set down by god. Which makes him something.

I don’t take that myth seriously either. But many have over the generations. And it’s had a hand in perpetuating anti-semitism throughout the centuries.

Back to the choices:
1-3 oh yes.
4-5 oy vey!
Where is Rory?
Who knew or remembered that either of them were Jewish before this post?

Moon Knight/Marc Spector is jewish, there was a stoet in the mid 80′s about is dying father, who was a rabbi and was brough back from the dead using Kabblah prayers

The article above states:

“Colossal Boy was established as Jewish conveniently soon after Kitty Pryde debuted in Uncanny X-Men. Remember, Colossal Boy is from Earth.”

I figure you’re just joking, but I doubt that it was planned that way. The Holiday Special mentioned above which revealed that Gim was Jewish was published just three months after Kitty’s first appearance in X-MEN 129. Kitty didn’t actually join the team until almost a year later; she had no popularity to capitalize on at that point. Plus, the scene which showed Gim celebrating Hanukah with his family was just one panel among many where Superboy was learning some of the many ways the holidays were celebrated in the 30th century.

BTW, that story was drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Absolutely beautiful art. :-)

And this would be a great time to mention the upcoming conference happening here at Boston University in April: “Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books & Graphic Novels.” What MAKES a character a certain religion (or not) certainly works as a hot topic.

Info here: http://captionbox.net/gravenimages_revised.pdf

also ICE MAN in a his mini series in the late 80′s tells of his mother being jewish and dad being catholic and as being jewish goes through the mothers bloodline, ……..thats a jewish superhero not on the list along with Moon Knight, also I remember Stan Lee admiting that Peter Parker even though its never been open or even hinted at was Jewish in his mind when he created him

What, we went through this entire list and nobody mentioned the Global Guardians’ Seraph? A great character, whom I miss, and whose backup stories in Super-Friends dwelt a lot on Jewish tradition and lore.

We know the Wandering Jew exists in the DC Universe because he showed up in Arak, Son of Thunder (which doesn’t eliminate the possibility of his becoming the Stranger at some point, of course). As for his converting, I had a short story a few years ago where he remains Jewish in the present (“If he was the Son of God, why would he curse me like this? I wasn’t one of the ones flinging cowpies at him.”).

I would strongly dispute the idea the Phantom Stranger is just a supernatural force following his nature. Whatever he is or was, I think he’s in charge of his own destiny (the Spectre, you have a point on).

As for the Roma, gypsy characters are given even less ethnic feel than Jews in comics, probably because people know less about them and their traditions.

Modern day Jews do not ascribe any supernatural power to Jesus. Acknowledging such a claim is akin to idol worship, one of Judaism’s three cardinal sins. According to many Rabbinic authorities, accepting Jesus is akin to shucking off one’s Judaism, and in the event that such an individual wants to return to Judaism, many require an active conversion (clip and dip), rather than merely a return to the fold. That being the case, the fact that Jesus was ABLE to curse the Phantom Stranger with eternal life flies in the faith of such convictions. As such, even if not Christian, the mere aspect of his still being around invalidates the view that the PS could possibly still be considered Jewish.

Unless he’s really, really, REALLY in denial.

How about gnostic? There’s one gnostic creed that presented Jesus as a phony, an agent of darkness who let someone else die in his place.

What about Superman? Kal -El is a jewish name if I ever heard one. Escaped an exploding planet (Europe WW2), changed his name to hide his origin (many jews did at the time). Well it played into Siegel and Shuster’s creation.

I never really thought about Nite Owl being Jewish. A nerdy, neurotic superhero with intimacy issues and a fetish? Who would have thought!

What about Wesley Dodds???? The original Sandman???

at least give him an honorable mention…

fourthworlder

May 9, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Interesting that this was posted during the anniversary week of Israel.

It’s really cool that these characters are identified as Jewish. Three of my four greatest personal heroes (as opposed to super-heroes) were Jewish (although I guess Jesus technically would qualify as a super-hero, now that I think of it). God knows its hard to imagine the history of the comic book without a lot of amazing Jewish creators.
I just hope that the super-heroes haven’t ever been identified specifically as Zionists.
I really don’t want to see Zionism celebrated or promoted by any popular heroes. Just like I’d be opposed to a superhero espousing South African Apartheid or the Third Reich. Racism sucks.

Please, everybody, pray for Palestine.

Sorry for offense to anybody anytime anywhere, but on the sixtieth anniversary week of this brutal occupation I strongly felt it needed to be said.

All five Marvel heroes, and no mention of Ragman? You are such a Marvel zombie sometimes.

And fourthworlder, it’s nice to see that you have absolutely no grasp of the complexity of the Israel-Palestine situation. If you think there’s a good guy and a bad guy over there, you’re a simpleton. Not to worry: so are 99% of the people who try to think about it.

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Your’e not going to incule Ragman on this list?? How about SUPERMAN??? Superman is the quintessential Jewish hero. Yes, yes… he WAS born on another planet. But c’mon….! I’m not Jewish, but if I was, I really think I’d be ticked if Superman was not acknowledged as Jewish. The name Kal-EL should qualify him on its own merit. Also, I never thought Moon Knight was much of a character but he should honorable mention.

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Issue #2 of Jewish Hero Corps Comics has finally arrived!

The Secret of The Solar Succah is available now at:
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A radiation-ridden asteroid heading for Earth can only be stopped by a vintage 1955 solar-powered, succah-shaped force-field, whose components were camouflaged fifty years ago and hidden in important Jewish historic spots across the globe.

In a race against time, The Jewish Hero Corps follows clues to track down where their predecessors hid the devices more than half a century ago.

In February, it will ALSO be available at the Jewish Hero Corps’ Web site, http://www.jewishsupers.com.

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Uh – How about Moon Knight. He’s a cool Jewish Superhero. Sasquatch is also tribe.

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You forgot Bobby Drake aka Iceman, he’s half Jew.

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