Disney features first-ever Jewish Latina princess


photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Disney Junior show “Elena of Avalor” featured Disney’s first-ever Jewish princess in an episode last month.

Disney released an episode of  “Elena of Avalor” that featured the company’s first-ever Jewish princess on Dec. 6, 2019. Princess Rebecca of Galonia is not only Jewish but also Latina.

Upon hearing that Disney was creating a Jewish princess, I was very excited to finally see Judaism represented on such a large scale, especially with antisemitism on the rise around the world. I was disappointed, however, that this Jewish princess was not going to get her own movie but rather an episode of a show.

The episode featured Princess Rebecca and her family trying to celebrate Hannukah after being shipwrecked in a land called Avalor. When sharing the story of Hannukah, the Jewish characters talked a lot about the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights but neglected to mention key details such as the Maccabees and the war.

Princess Rebecca is supposed to be a Sephardic Jew, but she and her family often used historically inaccurate Yiddish slang.

However, this episode was a step in the right direction; it accurately showcased a lot of common Hannakuh traditions and portrayed Jews in a positive light.

The episode aired on Disney Junior for young children to see. Presenting Jewish culture to kids from a young age is important in fighting antisemitism and increasing understanding of the Jewish religion and culture.

Although it may not have been as significant as I had expected, I am pleased that this episode was a step in the right direction towards educating the next generation about Judaism in a factual and widespread way.