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Dec 24, 2013

Jew or not a Jew? Bugs Bunny

In what is perhaps the strangest edition of "Jew or not a Jew", Bugs Bunny, yes, the cartoon character, has come up as a candidate..

David Yehuda Sterm, the "Rosh Chinuch" at a Reform synagogue in the UK called Alyth along with holding a degree in Film and Television Studies, speaking at a Limmud session in the UK posited that Bugs Bunny is Jewish - actually not quite Jewish, but designed on Jewish features and characteristics.

Stern said that Bugs Bunny was first produced in the 1940s by Leon Shlesinger Productions, founded by a Jewish man, and the voice of Bugs Bunny for many years was Mel Blanc, also a Jew. In addition, though this seems a bit flaky, Bugs Bunny had an accent that might be considered Jewish - considering his voice was the voice of a Jewish voice actor, it is not surprising that Bugs Bunny's voice sounded possibly Jewish, whether it actually did not not.

Also, Bugs Bunny grew up on the Lower East Side, a haven for Jewish immigrants at that time. Bugs Bunny was regularly targeted for elimination and eradication, but somehow always survives using his wiles and his wit - just like the Jews..

And who was the bad guy? Porky Pig. The most impure animal in the eyes of the Jewish people.

And "Rabbit" was taken, probably, because it sounds like "Rabbi".
(source: NRG)

It's a humorous discussion that will probably never have a definitive answer, but Stern makes a good case for it. I wonder if it is enough to count Bugs Bunny in a minyan...

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  1. The bad guy was Elmer Fudd, not Porky Pig (although they looked alike).

  2. The Jewish voice actor has nothing to do with the accent. Mel Blanc, a"h, did all the Looney Tunes characters and don't tell me Yosimite Sam sounded Jewish.

  3. The question is whether David Yehuda Stern is really a Jew. Even so, would he be kasher to be counted in a minyan?

    (See Ramba"m, Hil. Mamerim 3)

  4. Bugs Bunny was Groucho Marx, who was Jewish, so case closed. If anyone doubts this, just go see Monkey Business (Marx Bros version, not Cary Grant), and that should clear up any doubt.


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