Jewish Journal


November 16, 2009

Jews aren’t vampires



There have been teenagers camping out in Westwood since at least Saturday. Their tents wrap all around the north end of the village, past BJ’s, down LeConte, around the Best Buy and down to the corner where the University Religious Conference center sits.

The reason is sad: “New Moon,” the newest film in the “Twilight” series. The fact there were TV news crews out there Sunday night was even sadder.

You can imagine the line of questioning and the enlightening reports that came forth. No? Me neither. But one story about the “Twilight” series that did catch my attention—beside another on-point “South Park” episode—was this appeal from Rabbi David Wolpe that Jews aren’t vampires. He concludes his five-point argument:

Finally, vampires, I hasten to remind you, are not real. They have a long and startling history springing from the depths of the human imagination, drawing from our fears and from real-world creatures (bats, mostly), but they live in books and movies and powerful projections of our minds. But what they share with the abominable snowman, the Loch Ness monster and political bipartisanship is an essential unreality.

Jews not only are real, they know real monsters. There are things in Jewish history, as Abba Eban wrote, too terrible to be imagined, but nothing so terrible that it didn’t happen. We have known the kind of monsters that turn day into night and have a thirst for blood that puts Nosferatu to shame. They are not deterred by a cross; some have marched beneath it. These days, the world’s demons have a different but equally terrifying aspect. Once you have encountered true monsters, the imaginary ones seem not quite so vivid or frightening.

Vampires are not Jews. Maybe we can allow one powerful, popular trend to be about someone else for a change?

Read the rest here.

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