It’s a inquiry the Jewish internet has actually been speculating on because that a while, therefore we made decision to investigate.

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As i tossed and turned critical night in my challah crumb-coated bed, i couldn’t help but wonder — is Shrek Jewish? It’s a concern the Jewish internet has been speculating on for a while, and after scrolling through an unprecedented influx that tweets questioning the fictional ogre’s religion, ns did what any kind of investigative journalist would do. I opened TweetDeck and jumped down the hare hole.“There’s no method Shrek is circumcised,”
ReverendDrDash countered.

“Called my mom to check on her and we wound up saying over even if it is Shrek is Jewish,”
BenMekler reported.

“Shrek is based upon the publication by wilhelm Steig, the boy of Jewish immigrants,” Twitter user
keepingfeet astutely observed. “None the this is surprising.”

I mean it isn’t. Like many fairytale story tinkered and toyed through by big animation studios, DreamWorks’ narrative because that the repulsive, swamp-living ogre deserve to be traced earlier to a main source. However unlike many “happily ever after” tropes, the father of the original story — and the an initial sole-creator of an animated movie franchise the accrued end a billion dollars after simply one sequel — was a super hot Jewish new Yorker indigenous the revolve of the century. (Like, at sight hot.)

Born to eastern European Jewish immigrants in 1903, wilhelm Steig ruled new York City together the “King of Cartoons.” when the Polish family members lost everything throughout the Depression, Steig offered a whimsical comic to the New Yorker and also subsequently dropped into a 73-year stint through the magazine. A prolific cartoonist, the Jewish artist native the Bronx ultimately shifted emphasis from drawing adult-oriented work-related — featuring “satyrs, damsels, dogs and drunks” — to composing children’s books with anthropomorphic animals, the most famed of which, that course, is Shrek!


In Steig’s 1990 initial narrative of the environment-friendly ogre, Shrek, i beg your pardon yes, is Yiddish for “terror,” is a fire-breathing monster that relishes in scaring the public with his grotesque features. Booted from his parents’ house when he come “of age” (methinks this is no a reference to his bar mitzvah, as much as I want it to be), Shrek payment a witch rarely lice in exchange for a luck reading. Kicking off through the magic word “apple strudel” (is her Jewdar sounding off yet?) Shrek is called that, together with a donkey, he’ll voyage to a castle to marry a princess also uglier 보다 himself.

After battling a dragon, the weather — he swallows a entirety ass lightning bolt — and also a mental dream in i beg your pardon he’s smothered with affection through kinderlach (children), the ogre bumps into the abovementioned donkey that leads him to the Nutty knight of crazy Castle. Yada, yada, yada, the dynamic duo go into the castle, chaos ensues, and Shrek stays “horribly ever before after” through his princess, “scaring the socks of every who fell afoul the them.” Aw!

Jewish depiction suffered a loss when the producer of Shrek discarded a scene suggested by climate 90-something-year-old Steig to portray Shrek’s mother as “worrying about , choose a Jewish mother.” In all fairness, aside from a Yiddish name, the strudel, and his shofar-esque ears, there’s nothing explicitly Jewish around Steig’s Shrek. Scratch and sniff listed below the surface, though, and it’s apparent the story is drenched in Judaism.

In both versions of the above ogre, Shrek is an outcast who enjoys marching come the win of his own mud bathtub farts. Together a son of polishing Jews who fled Old civilization anti-Semitism, Steig’s monstrous development is an extension of his experiences as a Jewish man and an allegory for the east European Jew. “Shrek is one anti-hero, and Steig constantly said the the perfect hero is a fault hero,” Claudia Nahson, curator that the Jewish Museum’s 2008 exhibition “From The new Yorker come Shrek: The arts of william Steig,” called the Seattle Times.

A full introvert, the Shrek of the movie genuinely enjoys the solitude of his swamp. After a difficult day’s occupational of talking to no one, the ar ogre wines and dines himself, even lighting a candle pulled from his ears (alas, a 2nd candle would’ve screamed Shabbat). As the DreamWorks’ story goes, Shrek’s life got flipped, turned upside down when his quiet life is disrupted by a gaggle of fairy tales creatures exiled from your kingdom by mr “Douchebag” Farquaad.

Sound familiar? Shrek’s swamp is basically a fantastical shtetl in the Pale of Settlement, the region the Russian realm “allowed” Jews to live in native 1791 to 1917.

Next on mine Shrek-is-Jewish-agenda: Donkey. It’s around to acquire biblical here, so continue to be with me. In the publication of number (Bamidbar 22:22-34) there’s a story about Balaam, a two-timing prophet who trips on a talk donkey to aid King Balak the Moab. Is that a stretch to affix Eddie Murphy’s cheat to a tall Torah tale? This adorable cartoon by Asher Schwartz doesn’t think so. ~ shaking turn off a gaggle that knights sent out by lord Farquaad, donkey introduces self to Shrek that is wholly unimpressed by the talk animal’s goofy antics. Begrudgingly, the ogre allows the asylum seeker to spend the night exterior his swamp, due to the fact that helping strangers is just one of the 613 mitzvot. Shrek the ogre? much more like Shrek the mensch!

Later in Shrek, the movie, the dynamic duo are confronted with cross a narrow bridge over a swimming pool of lava to reach Princess Fiona, Shrek’s bride-to-be. Fear of melting to fatality from an inadvertently fall, Donkey completely freaks out, however with Shrek’s emotional support — “We’ll just tackle this thing together, one tiny baby action at a time” — that reaches the various other side that the bridge safe and also sound. There’s a Hebrew song I provided to sing in grade school that reminds me the this scene. Composed by the great Rebbe Nahman that Bratzlav (can I acquire a Rebbe-themed Bratz doll, please??), the text in “Kol Ha’Olam Kulo” encapsulate Shrek’s do not be afraid disposition: “The whole world is a small bridge, and the crucial thing is no to fear at all.” The writers’ room might not have actually intended to produce an overtly Jewish scene, however Shrek and Donkey literally overcome a “very narrow bridge” and that’s that on that.

It’s possible my relations are a little far-fetched, but Shrek 2 was written through Jewish wisdom and also I have actually the receipts come prove it. In the sequel, Fiona’s father convinces Shrek the his daughter belonging in a royal residence as a royal, not in a swamp as an ogress. Totally gaslighted, Shrek decides the best means to assistance the love the his life is to let her go. (Spoiler alert: After turning into humans, Shrek and also Fiona allow the Happily ever After medicine ware off to continue living their best life as mudbathing ogres.) if tweaking the template of the movie — “marriage is hard” — Jewish screenwriter David N. Weiss (who operated on A Rugrats Chanukah!!) recalled miscellaneous his rabbi called him about love:

“Love means what’s necessary to you, is important to me,” Weiss told the JC. “This is incredibly hard because that a man, because it way whatever your mam is talking about, even if it is trivial, it’s vital to her, and also if you love her, it’s important to you.”

Weiss, that was elevated Jewish, converted to Christinianity, and also now stays as one Orthodox Jew, said that the greatly Jewish writers’ room didn’t “say let’s make the the theme,” however “if you look in ~ Shrek 2, ns feel the it informs whatever Shrek does.”

The rest of the Shrek franchise is filled through pearls that Jewish wisdom, I’m sure — even Jewish gibbs Nigel Lindsay said, “Shrek is walking to it is in Jewish” when he played the titular function on the british stage. Ns don’t know if Shrek is circumcised (or if he even has genitalia), and also he more than likely didn’t have actually a bar mitzvah. But spiritual rituals execute not deem a creature’s Jewishness — it’s in your neshama, the soul.

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Steig offered his ogre the unshakeable Jewish top quality of being the misfit anyone loves to hate. In the book, there’s a little where the ogre scares his socks turn off from glancing in ~ his have fun in a room of mirrors. After establish it was simply his grotesque figure, and also not the angry king’s henchmen, Shrek is “full that rabid self-esteem, more happiness than ever to be exactly who the was.” past the Jewish author, the shofar-ears, and also his Yiddish name, self-love in the challenge of adversity is the most convincing dispute for Shrek’s Jewishness.

If you’re still no convinced, look to the most credible source out there, Jew or no Jew, for the official verdict:

“Remove the twang: you space left with a big-nosed misanthrope that is forced to live external the Pale the Settlement, is not invited by the royals, and also is topic to numerous fiery pogroms…. Verdict: Borderline Jew.”

So over there you have actually it. And oh, if you’re wondering what Steig assumed of the movie adaption the his most well known work, he once said: “It’s vulgar. It’s venomous — and I love it!”