As the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens is released, Brigit Grant counts down 12 reasons why the intergalactic saga is the greatest story in the Jewniverse…
1 “Great kid… Don’t get cocky!”
This Han Solo quote is hard to resist when it comes to director Jeffrey Jacob Abrams, who has cleaned up in space with Star Trek and now Star Wars.
Even his cult TV show Lost was a bit spaced out, but J.J is not only very proud about being Jewish, he also claims to be “the most nebbishy Jewish director ever”.
In 2009, he told the Jewish Journal that he’s “very proud of his heritage”, and that while his family is interfaith (Abrams’ wife is Irish Catholic), he takes his children to High Holy Day services.
2 Natalie is Miss Universe
There can’t be Jewish man on this or any other planet who wouldn’t have wanted to be a storm trooper if it meant arresting Natalie Portman. As the mother of Luke and Princess Leia, the beautiful Israeli-born actress has given generously to Star Wars.
3 L’chaim Leia
Although she’s only half-Jewish, Carrie Fisher was biblical as Princess Leia, particularly when she went all Judith-like on Jabba the Hutt and strangled him to save her own people.
4 May the Ford be with you
Although Han Solo’s religion is unconfirmed, with a mother called Dora Nidelman there’s no denying Harrison’s roots. With maternal grandparents from Minsk to guide him, it’s no surprise that Mr Ford tells journalists that he is “Irish as a person and Jewish as an actor”.
5 Is Darth Vader one of us too?
Vocally-challenged Vader’s armour chestplate features three lines of Hebrew. Granted 1D’s Harry Styles and David Beckham also have various alephs and bets about their person, but those who have taken the time to closely examine Darth’s text believe it’s a plagiarised portion from Exodus 16 about repentance
6 Who Nu?
Well Yoda (voiced by Jewish actor Frank Oz) for one thing, as he is the little green font of all which suggests he is at least part Jewish and at 900 years of age, he has seen off Abraham.
Then there’s his name which Hollywood types of the faith believe is an abbreviated form of the Hebrew yo- dei-ah, meaning ‘knowledgeable or wise’ – and that his speech pattern models the way Hebrew would sound if translated word for word. Figure go, can you if…
7 The unchosen one?
Of all the Star Wars characters we least wanted a connec-tion with it has to be the flying alien Watto in The Phantom Menace.
Very obviously Eastern-European and bearded, Watto was the slave-owner of the Skywalker family. Definitely the least-likely to be invited to a Jedi simcha.
8 “I find your lack of faith disturbing”
Once again Mr Vader shows his Jewish colours, albeit just before he choked the chief of the Imperial Navy to death in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope… but more than a few of us have been told the same thing by our rabbis during a Rosh Hashanah sermon.
9 Nazis in space?
The uniforms of high-ranking Empire officers kind of look like Nazi uniforms. So are the Stormtroopers like the SS? Then, logically, the Rebel Alliance is like the partisans. If that’s true, isn’t Luke Skywalker really a Jew? Just saying.
10 Having a ball
Spaceballs, the greatest (Jewish) Star Wars parody of all times, directed by Mel Brooks, is a clas- sic 1980s spoof of American Jewish assimilated culture.
11 Spielberg said, ‘No!’
The three prequel films, rightly regarded as a trio of tire- some turkeys, may have turned out differently had Steven Spielberg not turned down an offer by George Lucas to direct.
Ron Howard, another Jewish director who also got the nod, revealed: “Lucas didn’t necessarily want to direct them. He told me he had talked to Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, and me. I was the third one he spoke to. They all said the same thing: ‘George, you should do it!’ I don’t think anybody wanted to follow-up that act at the time. It was an honour, but it would’ve been too daunting.”
12 “You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them.
Obi Wan Kenobi’s Words of wisdom for Jews everywhere.
Additional content by Lior Zaltzman, which first appeared at www.forward.com and is reproduced with permission.