Every Spring – about a month before Passover – is the Jewish festival of Purim. For centuries, Jewish kids have dressed up as an assortment of characters. These days, comic book heroes are among the biggest favorites.
But some Jewish educators and parents wonder about Wonder Woman and nix the X-Men, concerned that characters promoting Jewish values might be more appropriate for the holiday.
This year, the Jewish Hero Corps, the first comic book Jewish super-team, have been licensed to a major costume manufacturer; and this Purim, kids can dress as Menorah Man, who grows eight flaming arms; or Dreidel Maidel, the "hurricane heroine." Other costumes include Magen David, the first Sephardic Super-Hero, and Shabbas Queen, whose wand enables her to fly and to stop electrical devices, giving them a ‘rest.’
Marci Brumberg, Coordinator of Family Education for Beth Israel Synagogue in Roanoke, Virginia, used the team as the theme for the Synagogue’s summer camp last year. At that time, her counselors made makeshift costumes and conducted educational programs dressed as each of the heroes who reside at www.jewishsuperhero.com.
"Using the Jewish Hero Corps was an educator’s dream come true." said Brumberg. "Forget Superman and Batman, children relate to super-heroes who are Jewish! It instilled a pride and excitement for our traditions. It doesn’t get any better than that!˜
Since its release, the comic book has been used in classrooms and synagogues as a Jewish educational tool. The project was designed in coordination with the Jewish Literacy Foundation to be effective in acquainting kids of all backgrounds with Jewish holidays, history, culture and language while utilizing the contemporary American mythology of super-heroes.
The costumes are available at www.KinderKlassics.com – a web site devoted to engaging and educational Jewish books, toys and accessories for children.
KinderClassics sells the comic book, as well.