It may come as a surprise for some to learn that I was raised Jewish. That I went to Hebrew school on Sundays and not Church. It may also be surprising to learn that while my home was mixed, I did in fact have a Bat Mitzvah and lit the menorah each Chanukah.
My mother’s family is British (with Scottish in the background that I cherish) and my father’s family is Jewish. I grew up calling the hats we wore to synagogue yarmulkes (the Yiddish name), and eating a lot of bagels and latkes. I love potato knish and charoset, and I grew up with a mezuzah at our door. We celebrated Passover and to this day, I sing to my son in Hebrew.
My mother had Jewish ancestry on her side and I was converted into the Jewish faith when she and my father came together. In Orthodox Jewish faiths, Judaism is carried through the female line, however, we are Reform Jews and I grew up within the faith and had a Bat Mitzvah.
My experience growing up in a mixed home was wonderful. You have both sides of your family and both sides of you. I do my best to embrace both my Judaism and my British ancestry. I myself do not practice the Christian faith, but identify with the more tribal and spiritual path of the British tribes before Roman colonization.
It’s a complicated backstory, but I think my readers will piece together a lot of connections to my current book series. I know that mixed homes and the children raised in them can be complicated, but it can also be beautiful. I know it’s not always the case for everyone, but in my own life, it brought different people together instead of dividing them. I saw how people can love and be connected, regardless of race and background and the darker parts of human history. My mixed home formed a love for everyone, regardless of race and religion, and a longing for everyone to come together, as our family had done.
I am proud and love both sides of myself and my family.
I was two or three episodes in on the new Disney Plus series, Moon Knight, before a Facebook post informed me that Marc and Steven were Jewish. Now, going onto Youtube, I found a couple of content creators that had combed through the episodes for “Easter eggs,” and revealed a quick flash of Marc and Steven’s Star of David in Episode 2, and a quick glimpse of a mezuzah, but I, the average watcher, hadn’t caught them. Up until that point, I had thought Marc and Steven were either Egyptian or Latin American because Oscar Isaac was born in Guatemala and the show has a heavy focus on Egypt and Egyptian Gods.
At this time, I was excited when I realized Marc and Steven (and another personality that will be coming to light) were Jewish superheroes. A Jewish Superhero. My heart expanded. I was so excited, up until I saw episode five.
Spoilers for Episode Five Ahead
In episode five, Marc and Steven’s Jewish background is fully revealed when Steven learns that they had had a younger brother and that their mother had recently died. We see their family observing Shiva (seven days of mourning), for both of them. Later, Marc and Steven are wearing a yarmulke, or kippah, and refuse to go inside, because as we’ve discovered in this episode, their mother blamed Marc for his brother’s death and beat him, causing the development of his disassociative identity disorder.
So, a quick flash of a Star of David and a mezuzah, if you’re looking for them, and a couple of minutes of Shiva and yarmulkes. Okay, it is a superhero story and it is the first season, and I can see why some in the Jewish community are happy to see representation, as I would have been, if a single Jewish actor had been cast to play the main Jewish roles–and if the storyline had followed a little closer to the source material. Not completely, but a little closer.
The actress who plays Marc and Steven’s mom is Brazilian and I cannot find anything online that suggests she’s Jewish. Marc and his younger brother, Randal, were played, I believe, by two Latin American boys, and their father, I am not sure what his nationality or faith is because I can’t find it. And, as many of you know. Oscar Isaac is not Jewish.
Please, understand that I am all for representation, and I fully believe that more Latin Americans (and many other ethnicities and faiths) need to be represented, and as I’ve stated above, I come from a mixed home and support representing that as well. However, not a single actor was Jewish? That we know of? And if there is one, why only one?
Oscar Isaac has done an incredible job and I am not upset at all that he was cast to play this role. I support it and I hope he continues to be our Moon Knight, but why aren’t there Jewish actors in the other roles? Why aren’t there Jewish people playing Jewish characters?
Michael Fassbender who played Magneto and Ian McKellen who played Magneto before him, were not Jewish. The Jewish superheroes (and sometimes villains) are not being played by Jewish people.
Stan Lee was raised in a Jewish home. Wanda and Pietro in the comics are Magneto’s children and that identity was removed in the MCU, likely because the MCU did not own the X-Men at the time, but they could still have been Jewish. Their Judaism was erased.
Why are we being erased?
In the Moon Knight comics, his DID is caused by witnessing a hate crime, but in the show, it is caused by the loss of his brother and because his Jewish mother beats him. DID is created, very sadly, through significant childhood trauma, and here was a moment for the series to show that anti-Semitism still exists, and they instead replaced it with an abusive Jewish mother.
Marc and Steven’s father was a rabbi in the comics. Is he in the show? I don’t know.
I am a small voice with a small platform, and I am not perfect, but I had to say something. I asked the director of Moon Knight, Mohamed Diab, on Twitter if any of the actors playing Marc and Steven’s family were Jewish, but he hasn’t gotten back to me. I suspect it’s algorithm related and that he gets thousands of tweets a day, but I tried, anyway. I’d like to know if any Jewish people played main character roles in a series about a Jewish superhero.
I’d like to know where the Jewish actors are and why they aren’t being cast in Jewish roles. I’d like to know why they chose not to educate on anti-Semitism and created an abusive Jewish woman instead.
My heart is truly torn. Oscar Isaac has out done himself and displayed incredible skill and talent and raised the bar for superhero roles. It is great to see DID cast in a light that does not villainize it and seeing Egypt and the Egyptian gods is magical. Layla is Marc’s wife, a Muslim American woman and a Jewish man are married. It is beautiful, but where are the Jewish actors? Why is Judaism being erased, barely seen, or villainized?
I’m not asking for Moon Knight to end, but I am asking for the show runners of Moon Knight to do better. To be inclusive of the people and faith they advertised were the show’s focus with a Jewish superhero and to celebrate them and not portray our women as abusers and have our faith be a shadow in Marc and Steven’s traumatic past.
Marvel advertised a Jewish superhero. Where are the Jewish people?