Debunking the Harry Potter Antisemitism Myth

Judaism, Harry Potter and Antisemitism Entire books have been written on Potter philosophy and Torah wisdom (see Moment’s interview with Dov Krulwich), and some commentators have posited that its magicians—chosen people  misunderstood by others—are essentially Jewish.  Yet, others also a postulate a rather unfortunate perspective that J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series are guilty of perpetuating an antisemitic slur: underhandedly equating the book’s loathsome goblins with Jews. The Antisemitic Goblin-as-Jew The goblin-as-Jew allegation deserves assessment, partly because antisemitism is so serious, but also because if the complaint is true, millions of Jews, including yours truly, could not continue to happily reread and rewatch one of the greatest stories ever told. The theory—as put forth by one its leading proponents Matt Zeitlin—is pretty simple: The goblins, especially as depicted in the movies, are universally hooked nosed, short, unattractive, and green. …Professor...

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Spooky jack-o-lantern

Kosher for Halloween

By Daniel Kieval It's Halloween in the suburbs. For a couple of weeks, already, the neighborhood decorations have been out in full force: pumpkins, black cats, spiders, ghosts. Then there are the houses that hold nothing back, turning lawns into graveyards complete with tombstones, skeletons, and back-from-the-dead monsters, such as mummies and zombies. With kids and parents across the country designing costumes, planning parties, and fortifying candy supplies, Halloween may seem an unlikely time to start pondering Judaism.  After all, the chaos of the fall holidays has passed, and Jews are supposed to be enjoying a well-deserved break, not starting in on more holidays. Yet, surrounded as we are by the Halloween culture, it may be worthwhile to ask the question: Does Halloween's glorification of blood and gore, of demons and the living dead have any relation...

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