03 March 2011

Ubermensch

Many popular storylines in entertainment relate to the times of the 1930s and 1940s, one of which being Star Wars, and another, ubermensch, or its English translation, Superman.  Ubermensch, the Hebrew word for superman, was used by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche had believed that religion and traditional values are what make men weak. “Only by overcoming such influences and determining values of his own,” he said,” could man realize his full potential.” These ideals are usually linked to those of Hitler’s “master race.”
It turns out, Superman, was created by two friends, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the sons of Jewish immigrants in 1938, a time when the Jewish culture was distraught due to the Nazi impact. They created an alter-ego for this character, Clark Kent, an “all-American” name. The alien from the planet Krypton with the name of Kal-El, landed on Earth and take the name we recognize as Superman. This “alien” name can be linked to the Biblical names of those ending in the suffix “el”. Also, just like the world ending on his home planet, those of Jewish descent were being destroyed as well, and so have they once before. Just like the Biblical story of Moses, as he was sent down the Nile River in a basket by his mother to escape from his homeland.
I do believe this idea as many things in the comic relate to Jewish culture. So get a Superman comic, preferably one of the older publishing’s, and see for yourself. I can only plant the seed, you must grow the tree.

It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's a Nazi Fighting Superhero!!

Simcha Weinstein discusses the heroic icon Superman as actually being of Jewish decent in his book Up, Up, and Oy Vey! To introduce this assumption, Weinstein explains in the introduction how Jewish stories from the Bible influenced the creation of Superman. The discrimination against Jews during World War II further influenced Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to create Superman because a modern day hero was needed in order to portray that good prevails over evil. Siegel and Shuster were two Jewish men who struggled with discrimination in the 1930s and made a heroic character that secretly was the solution for their social acceptance. The men may have subconsciously linked a lot of Jewish beliefs and stories into Superman’s life. For example, he was sent into outer space by his parents for his life to be saved just like the story of Moses. Superman’s name from Krypton, Kal-El, holds some biblical significance, such as “El” being some of the names of prophets. The extraordinary strength of Superman can be related to the stories of Samson, both also have a weakness. Weinstein continues to connect Jewish beliefs, stories, and morals with Superman. Weinstein discusses frequent comics that involve Superman fighting against Nazism. For example, on the 60th anniversary of Superman, an issue was published where the American icon faces Nazis and claims that he will not tolerate being considered “ubermensh”. The Jewish contribution of comics was not fully recognized until now.

Superman is actually Jewish, who would have thought? Weinstein brought up many interesting arguments throughout his little book, most made a lot of sense to me. I must say, I totally agree that Superman is Jewish and it was not just a coincidence that he was created during a rough era. I think it is amazing how Siegel and Shuster created this hero who has created a sense of hope in different ethnicities throughout the world. The reading was extremely entertaining and fun. Superman never appealed to me like other superhero’s have, but now this 73-year-old supposedly Jewish man has made quite an impact.

Superman: The Samsonized Moses...!?

The introduction to Up, Up, and It Vey! says Jewish Americans are the creators of the comic book. Accordingly it is not a coincidence that the superheros names in comic books end with the word "man", many Jewish names end with the word "man" as well; Good"man", Kurt""man", and Gold"man" are just a few examples. Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton takes readers back to 1934 when two Jewish American boys created Americas superhero. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster worked together to create a phenomenon. After creating Superman it took four years to get published. And because publishers at the time were not accepting work from Jews they created a new name for themselves, Brandon J. Kenton. After the publishing of Superman came speculation of him being Jewish. He was compared to the biblical figures Moses and Samson.
Superman is said to be like Moses because in both stories their parents had to make the choice between life and death, both children are able to live and are adopted. In both stories Superman and Moses have the power to do good, and that's what they do. Superman is compared to Samson based on his strength, he has been quoted, "A guy named Samson once had this idea!" Another biblical reference is Superman's real name Kal-El as well as his fathers name Jor-El. El is used in the bible as another name for God. El is also in names of great prophets such as, Isra"el", Samu"el", and Dani"el", also the angles Micha"el" and Gavri"el". In the bible Michael is the great combatant who fights Satan, which could easily make him Superman's flying biblical alter ego.
When I think of superheros, especially Superman I never used to think of any type of religion. I just used to think of a brave man in tights who saves the day. But after reading this I realize that there is a great possibility he is Jewish. His creators were Jewish, giving him more reason to be Jewish as well. After reading this with the biblical similarities it makes be believe he is Jewish. Superman came around the time when the Jewish people were being killed off just cause the simple fact they were Jewish. So why wouldn't two young boys create secret Jewish character for all of America to love!? Superman defeating the Nazis is another sign...yes he is Jewish!

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02 March 2011

Up up and JEWISH!? What? Really?

In the introduction of Up, Up and Oy Vey they explain some of the small connections that comics have to things like the bible. Did Jewish beliefs really influence comics? The introduction talks about the amazing stories told on Jewish holy days, "Good prevailing over evil." This is exactly what comics are about. The introduction it also point out how the comic book hero's personify a theme or themes from Jewish traditions. The book Up, Up, and Oh Vey shows all comic readers the connections that comics have with things such as the bible and Jewish traditions.
Chapter one basically gives you all the evidence to show you that comics and the bible do have some similarities. The most popular superhero today was created by two Jewish boys. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They based him off of what they were like and how they wanted to be. They made superman very patriotic. Superman was first introduced in Action Comics #1. The first issue featuring Superman sold out. Throughout Up, Up and Oy Vey they show how every comic with superman had something to do with Jewish values. And how it took place during World War II. They also make some connections with the bible. When describing how Superman was sent here by his father who put him in a little space ship and sent him to Earth. This goes along with how they sent Moses in a reed basket to a better place. There are many connections like this throughout the Superman comics.
Comics really are connected to the bible and Jewish traditions. This piece really has me believing. There are so many small similarities that I don't think people really notice. But they are there and now that I have read this piece I can see it. Comics are all about super hero's doing good and over coming evil. This is the same thing as the bible the stories that they tell are all similar. Coincidence? I think not! Up, Up, and Oy Vey gives you all the evidence to convince you that comics have some Jewish traditions tied in.

Super Jewish!

I bet it has never occurred to you that Superman was created from Jewish beliefs and culture. Not only was it made with these intentions, but made by Jewish men as well. These two Jewish men who created the character Superman were Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Simcha Weinstein is informing us that Superman as well as other superheroes come from Jewish beliefs in his book Up, Up, and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero. Weinstein uses the Bible and Nazi Germany to explain to the reader how the Superman comics have ties to Jewish culture.

Superman can first be identified with Jewish culture through the Bible. The Bible is a main focus in the Jewish religion, so there is no surprise that Siegel and Shuster relate Superman's personality to heroic figures in the Bible such as Moses and David. The connection between Superman and these biblical figures is that they all yield courage at one time or another, and have supernatural powers to serve their people. When European Jewish immigrants first came to the United States, they brought these biblical stories with them and passed them down to their children.

Superman's childhood is also related to the way Jews were treated in Nazi Germany during World War II. In 1939, Hitler persecuted Jews horribly in Germany. Jews could not hold government jobs or even own radios. Jewish parents would send their children to England to seek safety. Superman's childhood has the same background as these Jewish youth. Superman was sent away from Krypton to avoid the mass destruction of his native planet. Just like these Jewish parents, Superman's parents made the choice to send him away to avoid death.

When European Jews first came to America in the early 1900's, they were persecuted by many. It was hard to get a job at this time if you were a Jew. This was when Jewish children and teenagers began creating supernatural characters who came to protect the innocent and fight evil. Siegel and Shuster were just two of many Jewish teens who lived in America at this time. With them included the creators of Batman (Bob Kane and Bill Finger), and many other Jewish comic artists who migrated to America.

With all these Jewish creators of comics, comics became a multi-million dollar business. The public began to accept comics, and the comic industry grew. Comics were eventually studied within the highest levels of academia, and not just seen as cheap child's play. 2002 proved to be a good year for comics. In 2002, actor Nicholas Cage sold his comic collection for $1.68 million. This same year, the New York City Comic Museum released C.O.M.I.C.S. (Challenging Objective Minds: an Instructional Comic book Series), which was a curriculum for k-12 used in many schools. These can be considered milestones that show the progression comics have had.

I do agree with Weinstein's belief that superheroes come from Jewish culture. Weinstein gives great examples that explain the code behind the Superman comic. From showing how Superman's personality is related to biblical characters, to relating Superman's childhood to those children from Nazi German, it is hard to argue Weinstein's claim. The fact that many famous comic artists are Jewish helps his claim. I think the main reason comics such as Superman, that are written by people of Jewish ancestry have such a great appeal to Americans is that America is a Christian nation. Since many people have christian values, Superman appeals to them because the Jewish values of the authors are very closely related. This is why I think superheroes come from Jewish beliefs.

Up, Up, And Oy Vey: Is Superman Jewish

In November 1938 Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster gave birth to the first superhero comics book. This marked the birth of many's favorite: Superman. In the book Up, UP, And Oy Vey Simcha Weinstein takes the readers on a trip down memory lane. on that provides information on the origin of this phenomenal figure in society. the main idea brought forward was the belief that the character is actually Jewish. The writer began by taking her readers back in time to the biblical days where she made reference to the fact that there were super patriarchs and super matriarchs that existed in that period. These existed in the form of Moses, Davis and Sampson. it is believed that superman was created in a time when the Jews needed an intervention. this was in 1938 when the Nazi's launched a great attack on the Jews. The creators of the character were bot Jews themselves. The master minds gave the super hero an identity, a human reporter called Clark Kent. The Writer Siegel admitted that there were aspects of the character's characteristics that mirrored his own lifestyle. The most common being the level of shyness displayed especially when it relates to females.
There was an actual scene in the comic where Lois was placed before a firing squad during the Nazi attack on the Jew and predictably she was rescued by her lover Superman. The Author reveals the original name of Superman which is Kal-El. he made reference to the fact that most great biblical characters name ended with suffix El. Isra-el, Dani-el, Samu-el, Micha-el, Gabri-el. he also stated that the suffix "Kal" meant "with lightness", "swiftness", "vessel" and "voice". This the author believes directs us towards the ethnicity of the character. Finally, the author made reference to the birth of Moses which he mirrored to that of Superman. They were bot placed in vessels by their parents with the hope of them surviving and not having to face the pending destruction upon their lives. Both Moses and Superman were entrusted wit special powers and capabilities to save other from the hands of evil men forces that lurked around. In the end of the article superman defeated the Nazi and reminisces on his childhood that took place in the 1920's.
As a reader that has recently been introduced to the value of comics. I must admit that it was very intriguing reading the introduction and first chapter of the book. Based on the evidence and logic provide I am favored to agree wit the notion that Superman is indeed Jewish. Firstly, the creators of the characters are Jewish decent and this I believe will factor into the characteristics and ethnicity of the character. Most writer transports their experiences, beliefs and own characteristics in their characters. Secondly, the origin of the original name made perfect sense whether it was deliberate or coincidental. The writer supported her arguments with good and solid proofs, which I found hard to disregard and refute. Finally, the similarity that was identified in the birth and purpose of both Moses and Superman made the claim more believable and provided a convincing story. Now I might be wrong along with the author. However, based on the facts provided I am left to agree with the argument and belief: Superman is Jewish

You can't get anymore Jewish

In the beginning of the introduction of Up, Up, and Oy Vey! it is said that Jewish Americans invented the comic book. It says that it’s not coincidental that most superhero names end in the word “man”. If you look at many Jewish names, Goldman, Kurtzman, Goodman, and many more, they all end in the word “man”. Another thing said is that they related the Superheroes that they came up with, to the Bible. We can see the many traits that superheroes have which are connected with the Bible: Integrity, Justice, Values, Honor, etc.

In chapter one it talks about some of the ties that Superman comics have with the Bible. The comic says that Superman is a man who has the strength of a dozen Samsons. Samson was the Biblical man who had extraordinary strength and crushed the building of the Philistine chiefs. In episode #81 Superman goes undercover as a shtetl resident. Shtetl is the Yiddish term for a heavily populated Jewish town. In the same episode Superman meats Moishe and Baruch and accompanies them to their house. There, while Baruch is drawing in the corner on a brown piece of paper, Moishe tells superman that Baruch is drawing their angel again and that he, Moishe, makes up the stories while Baruch draws up the pictures.” This represents Siegel and Shuster when Shuster would draw on brown wrapping paper back when they were just young boys. Clearly Jewish religion has strong connections with those superheroes in comic books.

I never really thought about where the inspiration for these characters came. I was on the line of believing and disbelieving that superheroes descended from Jewish beliefs, but was shortly convinced. After I read the part about Moishe and Baruch drawing the pictures and making up the storyline for their “angel”, then I knew that it was true. Superman wasn’t just someone with extraordinary powers who could fly; he was Siegel and Shuster’s angel who they based their entire beliefs off of. Now that makes me wonder if all superheroes are really Jewish underneath.