Torah from Simpsons

Jews & Judaism pervade this animated sitcom and its fictional town of Springfield.

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So, latent or blatant, is the portrayal of Jews in The Simpsons on balance a positive one, likely to encourage understanding among society at large? Rabbis seem to think that itis, although not entirely without qualifi­cation.

Rabbi Steven Engel of the Congregation of Liberal Judaism, a Reform temple in Orlando, says, "For Jews, humor has always been as reflective as our holy writings and sacred liturgy in expressing our feel­ings, concerns, aspirations, and in bringing to light the realities we face. Our general understanding is that humor has contributed to our ability to survive as a people. There is no question that The Simpsons' Springfield in many ways accurately reflects the feelings, concerns, aspirations, and real­ities of contemporary Jews. It is certainly funny stuff and does make peo­ple laugh. But is it good for the Jews? I suppose that depends upon who is doing most of the laughing, why they are laughing, and to whom the laughter is directed."

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Mark I. Pinsky

Mark I. Pinsky is the religion reporter for The Orlando Sentinel.