The Jewish History Behind Superman

Here’s some Jewish history behind Superman. One of the world’s first superheroes was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both children of Jewish immigrants. They first met at Glenville High School in Cleveland and, after graduation, teamed up to create the legendary superhero. It was the 1930s, a period marked by a rise in antisemitism as the Nazis were beginning to gain power, which Siegel said motivated him to create a character to help the downtrodden masses. In 1938, Superman first appeared in a DC comic book, sharing many similarities with American Jews of the time. Superman was an immigrant with a name that sounds like the Hebrew word for God (Kal-El), and many paralleled the superhero’s story of arriving on Earth to that of Moses in a baby basket and possessing the strength of Samson. In the early 1940s, Superman fought the Nazis in comic books, and by 1977, the superhero even visited Israel in an edition of ‘Super Friends’. This is a photo of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in New York, 1942.