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The Prince of Rome

This morning, I learned of a new film being released on DVD about the life of Pope John Paul II. pope-cartoon.jpgThe topic of the film is not surprising, as many films and even comics have documented the life of Pope John Paul II, but what is unusual is that this is the first animated portrayal of any Pope’s life.

According to the BBC’s coverage of the cartoon, it is geared particularly toward children. This got me thinking about how like Catholics, Jewish educators can use innovative, and specifically animated, means of reaching unaffiliated and unengaged Jewish families. Of course, there are the typical bible story cartoons shown in Hebrew Schools, but there are also mass market films, such as The Prince of Egypt, that are easily accessible to the general population.

How can we incorporate comics and cartoons into the fabric of Jewish education? Is it by showing the opening sequence of X-Men to open the topic of the Holocaust and using An American Tail to teach about the Jewish immigrant experience? What other ways can you introduce Jewish topics and stories into the discussion in a low-barrier, low-committal fashion?



1 Comment

  1. “Is it by showing the opening sequence of X-Men to open the topic of the Holocaust and using An American Tail to teach about the Jewish immigrant experience?”

    Well, that would be if we were talking about films and teaching. Which is another fascinating topic.

    Getting back to using comics to teach, though ….

    One thing I’d liek to do is demonstrate that creating & viewing art require interpretation by the artist and by the viewer. Comics are a fun way to explore this by showing a group panels and illustrations from the comic — out of context. What does a “comic book” Jew look like? How have they been drawn differently by different artists? Can they really distinguish between Jews and non-Jews in comics stories?

    As for the actual content in comic books, they have plenty of themes that can be used to introduce topical subjects for the Jewish classroom (if one knows where to look) : intermarriage, intolerance, use & abuse of power, ethics.

    It can also be used to teach Jewish history, culture and mythology.

    Comment by Steven M. Bergson — November 8, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

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