(From left) The Thing, Spidey and Spin in the upcoming Rosh Hashanah episode of "Spidey and his Amazing Friends."
(From left) The Thing, Spidey and Spin in the upcoming Rosh Hashanah episode of "Spidey and his Amazing Friends."

Spider-Man and his ‘Amazing Friends’ save Rosh Hashanah on preschool series

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TV episodes themed around Jewish holidays are nothing new, but the holiday in question is almost always Hanukkah — the classic “A Rugrats Passover” notwithstanding.

But in an upcoming episode of “Spidey and His Amazing Friends,” a Disney animated series for the preschool set, Spider-Man and his friends are on a mission to save Rosh Hashanah. The episode will air, appropriately, on Erev Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 15) and can be streamed afterward on Disney+, Hulu and DisneyNow.

In the show, rubbery computer-animated kiddie versions of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Miles Morales (Spin) and Gwen Stacy (Ghost-Spider) fight preschool-friendly versions of classic supervillains.

The official synopsis of the Rosh Hashanah episode, titled “An UnBEElievable Rosh Hashanah,” reads: “When Gobby [a version of the Spider-Man villain Green Goblin] steals all the bees, Team Spidey and The Thing must get them back and save Rosh Hashanah.”

See, without bees, there’s no honey. And without honey, how can the Jews of the Marvel universe have a sweet New Year?

Teaming up with Spidey in this episode is the canonically Jewish superhero The Thing (real name Ben Grimm). As an original member of the Fantastic Four, he was one of the first characters created for the Marvel superhero comics and has been Jewish in the comics for decades. His personality, appearance and distinctive Brooklyn accent are based on the pugnacious Jewish artist and writer Jack Kirby, who co-created many of the most well-known Marvel characters, including the Fantastic Four.

The animated “Spider-Verse” films, which made Peter, Miles and Gwen into an iconic trio among young audiences, implied that one of many alternate versions of Spider-Man in the “Spider-Verse” is Jewish by showing him stomp on a glass at his wedding. But there is no indication that will play into the Rosh Hashanah episode.

In a Kveller article about the episode, theater-TV journalist Linda Buchwald wrote: “Since the depiction of Jewish characters in Marvel film and television often has to do with grief and pain — Magneto in a concentration camp, Marc Spector/Moon Knight sitting shiva — it’s moving to see this scene of Jewish joy, especially for a character with as sad a story as The Thing.”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is director of news product at J. He previously served as assistant editor and digital editor. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @davidamwilensky