Harry Potter, Ba'al Tshuvah

There was a song from the 60’s: “When You’re in Love, the Whole World is Jewish.”
I guess when there’s a book that sold multi-gazillion copies before it was even published, the whole pop culture phenomenon is Jewish, too.
It seems that there was just a Harry Potter conference in the UK in which Harry’s Jewish identity was debated in a serious, pseudo-scholarly sort of way. And Jewsweek just published a Jewish parody of Harry Potter that looks a lot like the article that Matthue Roth wrote some years ago, originally published in Fabrengen.
For pete’s sake, even Aish and the OU have felt it necessary to draw parallels between Hogwarts and the yeshiva. And yes, we know, Avada Kedavara looks a lot like abra c’adabra, which was originally a Kabbalistic formula. But between then and now it’s mostly been known as “abracadabra”, like in that Steve Miller song, where I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any Kabbalistic subtext.
Why does all of this cause me to wish that we could leave something alone and not feel compelled to make everything all about the Jews, just once?

6 thoughts on “Harry Potter, Ba'al Tshuvah

  1. A former assistant rabbi at my shul would begin the occasional Devar Torah with a shtick where he spoke in the voice of a mystical Jewish student who he said had been expelled from Hogwarts. It was cute the first time but quickly got old.
    On a related note, it may amuse some of you to know that at least one haredi rabbi, Ariel Bar Tzadok of koshertorah.com, agrees with those evangelicals who say Rowling’s books glamourize black magic. He even throws in the usual canard about Dungeons & Dragons. Maybe he and that Jack Chick cartoonist should go into business. 🙂

  2. Rav Shlomo Aviner writes a weekly question-and-answer column. A couple of years ago, someone asked whether Harry Potter was forbidden reading because it deals with magic.
    He replied that noone seriously believes in that kind of magic. However, all the books are forbidden because they encourage excessive use of the imagination.

  3. Just a note. Jewsweek is no more. It is Jewcy now and the people who made Jewsweek (including me) no longer have anything to do with it. Jewsweek = Dead. Jewcy = Reincarnation (along the lines of a Hindu coming back as a dog or something).

  4. it’s just a part of the whole “let’s make everything that’s hip into something jewish” movement ( including music such as so called, t shirts such as those sold in the jewschool sto).
    for better or for worse.

  5. Everything popular seems to end up with a Jew-comparison, remember the deal with the Matrix? I even heard of shiurim and lectures that were given after the Matrix was released.

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