December 6, 2001
What’s so Jewish about Harry Potter?
Last month, we asked our young Journal readers to answer that question. Since we got so many great essays, we decided to publish sections from some of them. And Congratulations to the winners of our drawing!
"Is Harry Potter Jewish, you ask? No. Harry Potter just exhibits many characteristics of a Jew. He is a leader, is loyal to his friends, and doesn't abandon his heritage." In the beginning of the book Harry accepts his fate of being a wizard and embraces it, just as I have welcomed my Jewish identity. As I go to a Jewish school to learn about my heritage and culture, Harry goes to Hogwarts, a school for wizards, to learn about his culture and heritage." -- Ariella Goldman, Age 13
"Harry reminds me of many Jewish people, all rolled into one. Like Sandy Koufax, Harry has principles, and he is true to what he believes in. Harry is brilliant like Albert Einstein. He and Anne Frank both have perseverance. Finally, like Judah Maccabee, Harry is courageous. I think Harry Potter would make a fantastic Jew." -- Shanna Perplies, Age 13
"Jewish culture teaches on that in life, many situations arise when one must choose between good and evil. Harry Potter had the natural inclination to make the admirable decision to act morally. On top of acting justly, he would go one step further and fight all evil wrongdoings, even if his honorable actions put him at a disadvantage." -- Lisa Conn, Age 12
"The Jewish value of choosing right over wrong is definitely present in the acclaimed movie and book series, 'Harry Potter.' While Harry chooses to be good, Lord Voldemort chooses evil over good." -- Laura Chanan, Grade 8
"Who would think that the best money-making movie of all time would have so much in common with a small religious group? I sure didn't think about that.... There are many morals in this story which you can also find in the Torah. For instance, in the movie, Harry knowingly endangered his own life to try to save the life of another." -- Ilan Lakritz, Age 13
"Harry creates a deeper meaning to the story than the obvious meaning of protecting the stone. Harry sets many good examples that aren't very obvious when one is watching the movie.... Harry had a great feeling of loyalty for his friends. This is a quality that many people can work on and improve upon." -- Spencer Wampole, Grade 8
"Harry was not brought up by the best family. Despite that, he learned who not to be. Harry was always a very nice person. When he got to Hogwarts, he met some different people. Harry is a mensch for sticking up for Ron when Malfoy tries to get Harry to become a bully like Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle." -- Jesse Salzman, Age 14
"Harry Potter will take chances and risk lives, but in the end, he does what is right. I think that Harry has a cornucopia of Jewish traits and plain old traits that he goes by that help him do the right thing." -- Annie Turner, Age 11
"Several things are Jewish about Harry Potter. Dumbledore, the headmaster at Hogwarts, is a godly figure. He's always watching over the students like God watches over the Jews. Judaism allows for the belief in magic. King Saul went to consult the witch of Endo to bring up the ghost of Samuel. The Golem was the Jewish Frankenstein that protected the Jews." -- Hanna Sender, Age 11
"There are a lot of things that are Jewish about Harry Potter such as his loyalty to his friends, Hermione and Ron. Another thing is that he doesn't really want to be 'The Popular One,' (he isn't) but he still deserves it.... He is very unassuming and he doesn't brag about achievements and himself." -- Noah Starr, Age 11