Disney Introduces Its First Jewish Princess on ‘Elena of Avalor’
Mazel tov, Jewish Disney fans. You will have a soon have a princess to call your own.
This December, the Disney Junior series Elena of Avalor will host a very special Hanukkah episode — and a Jewish princess.
The actor who will portray the character, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, responded to the tweet, noting she is “so excited” to voice Disney’s first Jewish princess. (Although Sigler is best known as Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow on The Sopranos, her parents are actually Jewish.)
Ah, but here it gets a little controversial. Last year, upon the release of Ralph Breaks the Internet, one of its stars, Sarah Silverman, insisted in interviews that her character, Vanellope Von Schweetz, was the first Disney Jewish princess. And when Sigler tweeted about her role, Silverman responded.
As for evidence of Vanellope’s Judaism, here was what I wrote at that time:
There’s no clear evidence of Vanellope’s Judiasm in the movie, at least that I picked up on. She doesn’t attend Shabbat services or refuse to eat a pulled pork sandwich or anything like that. When Yahoo! asked Silverman for evidence of her claim, she told them “she’s feisty, she says what’s on her mind, she’s a little pushy.” Which is all true, I suppose. Maybe the Von Schweetz family changed their name when they arrived at Ellis Island? (Fictional video game characters arrived in this country through Ellis Island, right?)
So while I am sympathetic to Silverman, I think I have to side with Sigler on this one — especially if her Elena of Avalor episode really is a Hanukkah-themed story, that will emphasize Jewish traditions and her character’s Jewish background. That definitely tops a “feisty” video game character. The Elena of Avalor Hanukkah special airs this December.
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