In super important news, there’s a Jewish Spider-Man now. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. In the inventive new superhero film Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, the plot hinges on the idea of a multiverse (a hypothetical group of multiple universes, don’t worry about it), where multiple Spider-Mans exist. Based on the comic by Jewish writer Stan Lee, the film is delightful and fun, and, as the New York Times reports, “the story is clever and just complicated enough, moving quickly through silly bits, pausing for moments of heart-tugging sentiment, and losing itself in wild creative mischief.”
But don’t worry about the plot. What we’re here to talk about, obviously, is the Jewish Spider-Man. Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson, of New Girl fame), is introduced in a montage of flashbacks. In these flashbacks, there’s a blink-and-you-miss-it scene of Peter marrying Mary Jane and smashing a glass.
Stomping on a glass at a wedding is a specifically Jewish tradition. As My Jewish Learning explains, “The Jewish wedding ceremony ends with a famous bang. Stomping on a glass is one of the best-known features of Jewish weddings. Traditionally, the groom did the deed; today the couple often share the honor/pleasure, smashing one or two napkin-wrapped glasses.”
Which is why it was so exciting to see it depicted on the big screen! Spider-Man is a Jew! At least one of them, anyway!
Fans were super excited. As one tweeted, “Into The Spiderverse really gave so much depth to an Afro-Latino Spider-Man and made Peter Parker canonically Jewish.” Many others chimed in:
nazis are not allowed to like spiderman: a canonically jewish character
— charlotte (@charliesaurrrus) December 28, 2018
there are many reasons why i loved the new spiderman movie but can we please appreciate the fact that peter parker is JEWISH
— emma silverstone (@whythedilEMMA) December 29, 2018
into the spider-verse was fucking sick and we stan peter b. parker, the canonically chubby jewish spiderman
— rachel (@_rosenzweig_) December 30, 2018
At Vulture, writer Abraham Riesman investigated the Jewish Spidey by talking to the directors. “I happen to have a personal conviction, for many reasons, that Peter B. Parker is likely Jewish,” co-director Rodney Rothman told Riesman. “Personally, I grew up in Forest Hills, Queens and I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m just projecting… But, yes, I had my own personal theory and I was a real loudmouth about it. I was mainly just messing with people, but I would say, ‘You know Spider-Man is Jewish, right?’ I was like, ‘His name is ‘Spider-Man,’ just for starters.”
Reisman notes that Rothman pronounces it Spiderm’n, “à la many Ashkenazi Jewish surnames.”
— Michael H. Weber (@thisisweber) December 27, 2018
Still, Rothman is careful to not make Peter B. Parker’s Jewish heritage definitive: “I will say, because this is an alternate universe, we just don’t know. It could be that Buddhists step on glass. It could be that M.J. is Jewish and Peter converted. It could be that… I don’t know, what else could it be?”
Riesman writes: “With all due respect, Rodney, that’s bullshit. Own it, boychik! The Peter B. Parker of the Jake Johnson universe is hereby declared to be Jewish for ever and ever, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, no take-backs, Baruch Hashem.”
To the Jewish Spider-Man, l’chaim!