Gods and Prophets, Sages and Saints: Religious Imagination in Popular Culture

Superman is Jewish. Ms. Marvel is Muslim.

Gods and Prophets, Sages and Saints looks at the variety and complexity of religious expression in comic books, graphic novels, and pop-ups found in the collections of James Branch Cabell Library Special Collections and Archives.

Featured in this post is The Rabbi’s Cat created by Joann Sfar. Click here to see and learn more about this feature.

Korean American Rabbi Speaks at the White House Hanukkah Reception


On Dec. 17, President Obama celebrated the second day of Hanukkah at the White House with the Jewish community and invited Korean American Rabbi Angela Buchdahl to recite the second blessing.

“Hanukkah is really all about the celebration of nissim, of miracles,” Rabbi Buchdahl said in her speech. “From days of old all the way to now, so we do also always celebrate the miracle of the Maccabees and their tremendous victory over the tyrannical rulers as they searched for religious freedom. And that tonight, we–a tiny religious minority–are here and are able to celebrate our holiday with you [Mr. President] in the White House is a miracle we do not take for granted as the Jewish people.”

The crowd broke into applause and cheers.

“I would say that our founding fathers, they wanted to aspire to build a country that was truly to build a place of religious freedom and equal opportunity for all people,” Buchdahl continued. “But I have to predict that they could not have imagined that in 2014 that there would be a female Asian American rabbi lighting the menorah at the White House for an African American president.”

To this cheeky comment, President Obama jested, “You don’t think they predicted that?”

“I think they’d be surprised,” Buchdahl responded, earning a round of laughter from the audience.

Watch Buchdahl’s speech here

On the pants situation
  • Me:so on the hypothetical chance that someone happened to burn pants in the oven and melt it, would they need to rekasher the oven?
  • Rabbi:if there was treif on them, which I hope there wasn't
  • Me:not even if there was cheese but it's a Basari oven?
  • Rabbi:not even then. Asher did you bake your pants?
  • Me:
  • Rabbi:
  • Me:but I don't have a dryer. And it's stormy.
  • Rabbi:don't bake your pants.

Whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Druze, each and every soldier has a place in the IDF. Lt. Shmueli is a member of the Military Rabbinate, his job is to make sure that every soldier has the opportunity to practice his faith’s traditions. “We don’t just make it possible for religious Jews to serve in the army, we are always working hard to make sure that all soldiers from all backgrounds can find their place in the IDF".

Two people were fighting over a piece of land. Each claimed ownership. To resolve their differences, they agreed to put the case before the rabbi. The rabbi listened but could not come to a decision. Finally he said, “Since I cannot decide to whom this land belongs, let us ask the land.” He put his ear to the ground, then straightened up. “My friends, the land says that it belongs to neither of you – but that you belong to it.”

Matthew 23:1-12 (HCSB)
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.

“But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.