By Stephanie Lewis
With extra time on my hands during Coronavirus, I took it upon myself to embark on a project of converting traditional fairytales into Jewish ones. However I didn’t realize the challenges I would face. You can’t just dunk a fair maiden into a mikvah and call it a day (well maybe the Little Mermaid?) or circumcise Prince Charming. So I listed specific problems I would need to brainstorm solutions for. It went like this:
- The Seven Dwarfs will always be three males short of forming a minyan.
- Handsel and Gretel can’t have any breadcrumbs to strew in the forest because Challah is too delicious to have leftovers for use as a navigational system. We’re too busy making French toast out of it.
- An orthodox Repunzel would never let her real hair down for anyone but her husband. Her wicked mother would have to climb up an expensive wig.
- The Elves and the Shoemaker would go out of business during Yom Kippur if they used leather soles. (Also Elves? Like on shelves? Jews will need a Mensche on a bench.)
- In the story of Aladdin, Princess Jasmine wouldn’t show off her midriff. Ever. No way. And in The Emperor and the New Clothes, he’s not going to parade around naked until one astute child (destined for Harvard law school, no doubt) points out his nudity. Jewish laws of modesty will need to prevail!
- Belle would never adamantly refuse to have dinner with the Beast, instead opting for seclusion in her bedroom. At least not after getting a whiff of Bubbe’s brisket!
I didn’t want to make it all seem so hopeless so I added to my list that Little Red Riding Hood was definitely doing a mitzvah by visiting her sick grandmother. But maybe there was more potential with nursery rhymes? I could author them by a “Mother Gooseowitz.”
Again the following issues presented themselves:
- Jack Spratt can eat all the fat he wants, if it’s not treif. His wife, well she’s constantly dieting for their daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, so she BETTER eat lean.
- Jack Be Nimble won’t be jumping over any Shabbat candlesticks because he’ll get swatted away by wives waving their hands over the candles three times.
- Little Jack Horner will never be left alone to sit in a corner (at least in peace!) while he pulls out a plum. Every Yente in the social hall will be excitedly interviewing him (an eligible Jewish bachelor!) to make him a match.
- Jack won’t fall down and break his crown because his father (a brain surgeon at Ceders Sinai) will have advised him from infancy of the danger of going up hill with a pail of water.
- Enough with the name Jack already! Humpty Dumpty’s great fall won’t require all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to assist him. Only one sharp Jewish attorney will do the trick.
- Peas Porridge cold/9 days old?? Sorry! No Jewish deli is serving soup anything less than piping hot and fresh or it will be unceremoniously sent back to the chef.
- ‘A Tisket a Tasket, a Green and Yellow Basket’ cannot be used to carry a letter you wrote to your Love. When it comes to baskets, we’ve got Purim to think of… Mishloach Manot, people!
Again just to end on a positive note – “Twinkle, Twinkle” can potentially be one of the three stars that appear in the sky, designating the start of Havdalah. Stay tuned because if our pandemic continues, I’ll have time to work on Gone With the Wind and Scarlett O’Hara will become Shoshana O’Shapiro.
Stephanie D. Lewis appears in The Huffington Post comedy section and at OnceUponYourPrime.com