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The Non-Jewish World of Disney

The Non-Jewish World of Disney

A Jewish princess does not wait for her prince.


Someone gave me tickets to "Disney on Ice." The theme was "Princesses," so naturally I brought my two little girls, Bracha Leah and Malkie to the ice show.

The arena was filled with families and little girls, waving their magic wands, wearing their princess costumes, and sporting sparkling crowns. My girls were thrilled and could not wait for the show to begin.

Lights go out, music goes up, and the magic begins.

The producers of the show chose about five different Disney princess stories, ranging from the classic Snow White to the more recent Little Mermaid. The young maiden of each story came out, and the story line of their fable was played out in a short version, all gliding gracefully on ice.

A pattern soon emerged. Each story had a young, pretty girl tempted morally by some evil being, and each time she blew it, falling into peril. And each time, of course, she was saved by the handsome, brave young lad.

Yes, some day my prince will save me.

My girls were mesmerized, sitting on the edge of their seats. I was incensed.

Because it was a synopsis of each story, being played out in quick succession, the pattern and message were blaringly apparent. Don't worry girls; if you get into trouble, the prince is on his way.

My girls were mesmerized, sitting on the edge of their seats. I was incensed. I looked around, hoping to find other mothers at least agitated by this Disney propaganda. It was too dark to tell. I wanted to climb out of my seat, find the gondola with the announcer, grab his microphone and announce:

"Is there any other mother here upset at what we are seeing?!"

The show ended after the grand finale with all the princesses of the story skating around the rink with their prince heroes to great applause.

As we were leaving the stadium, my girls asked to buy a princess souvenir. "It's late," I said. "Tomorrow is a school day." But what I really meant was, "Over my dead body."

We got home; I tucked them into bed as memories of musical princesses skated in their heads and I told my husband what happened. We could not think of any similar theme in Tanach -- in the Torah, Prophets or Writings. If anything, it's the exact opposite. The story of Chanukah is a perfect example.

There is a Jewish law that says that after lighting the Chanukah menorah, women are not allowed to do any work for 30 minutes. They are supposed to bask in the glow of the lights. Why? Because it was a Jewish woman who saved the day and turned the tide of the war against the Syrian Greeks, resulting in ultimate victory for the Jewish people.

The stuff they never taught you in Hebrew School.

Her name was Yehudit, or Judith. She was a young widow, the daughter of Yochanon, the High Priest. Her town was under siege by the Syrian Greek general, Haolfernes. They were starving out the Jews and the men were ready to surrender. She tried to stop them, telling them not to give up, that they are God's people and they must have faith.

And that was not all she did. She snuck out of the walls of the town with a basket of salty goat cheese and pure wine, covered by a cloth. She approached the enemy camp and, using her "womanly ways," was able to enter the private tent of the general himself. Offering him the homemade cheese, he ate heartily and washed it down with the wine.

Yehudit waited, and once the general had passed out drunk, she took his own sword and chopped off his head. She placed the bloody head into her basket, covered it with the cloth, and calmly left the tent.

Upon returning to the town, she showed the men the general's head. Shocked, they displayed it in the town square for all to see. After getting over their embarrassment that this young widow had acted with such bravery while they were preparing to surrender, the men were galvanized into action.

Yehudit told them the time to act was now, for when the Greek soldiers discovered their general's decapitated body, their spirits would surely fall.

The Jewish men attacked, and won. Word spread throughout Israel, and the Jewish people were inspired to stand up and fight.

It took time, but victory was eventually ours, all because of a young Jewish woman who didn't wait for the song "Some Day My Prince Will Come." Instead she looked to her King, the Almighty, stood up, and was "Takin' Care of Business," every day, in every way.

December 9, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 139

(135) Anonymous, August 25, 2015 12:42 PM

I totally agree

There are so many nice Jewish books and films out in the world. why do we need to lower ourselves to Disney anyway when we have Uncle Moishy and the like? Why read about Cinderella when you can read about Malki who looks forward to Shabbos? What is more important to you?

(134) Anonymous, February 9, 2015 3:38 AM

Some fairy tales

While I agree that many Disney tales are like that, that is largely due to the original fairy tail being like that. (Or worse.) Many stories in history are men saving day.

Besides, some Disney movies do show women being heroes, Mulan was the woman being hero, and Rapunzel had them both saving each other. And of course Frozen,

(133) Beverly Kurtin, April 23, 2014 7:00 PM

Ever Wonder

Have you ever wondered why we women say, in our morning blessings, "Thank you for making me according to your will?"
It is because we ARE made according to the way that Hashem meant both genders to be, but the males of our people are not.It was they who gave gold to build the golden calf, it was they who went astray at every opportunity, only we women behaved as Hashem desired.
We women are wired to ACT, not sit around waiting for things to happen.
Now you guys are okay as far as things go, but we women have been created ACCORDING TO HASHEM'S WILL. You thank God for not being made a woman, you should. Because when it comes to pain, we can take it more than you guys. Whenever you guys have fallen down on the job, we women are there to pick you up.
WHY most of us marry any of you is beyond my nuttiest thoughts.
But we still love you with all your faults.

(132) Anonymous, September 22, 2013 4:52 PM

Subliminal message of Disney!

Me, behave? Seriously? As a child I saw Tarzan almost naked, Cinderella arrived home after midnight, Pinocchio told lies, Aladdin was a thief, sleeping beauty was kissed by stranger and married him,Batman drove over 200 miles an hour, Snow White lived in a house with 7 men, Popeye smoked a pipe and had tattoos, Pac Man ran around to digital music while eating pills that enhanced his performance, and Shaggy and Scooby were mystery solving hippies that always had the munchies. What do you expect from kids.....

(131) AMY, August 9, 2013 1:07 PM

Old Tales

Just like to point out that Disney only made the movies for these stories that are in some cases hundreds of years old! Investigate the original stories and understand why these sort of tales were perpetuated--than be grateful you live in this time and place! Empower with knowledge.

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