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The Rebbe on Comics

The Rebbe on Comics

Detail of Jewish comics by Joe Kubert.
Detail of Jewish comics by Joe Kubert.

Since 1981, the Jewish Children's Club, "Tzivos Hashem", has published a seasonal magazine for Jewish children called The Moshiach Times.

From the onset, one could see the Rebbe's keen interest in even the most minute details regarding the magazine.

The Rebbe once explained that a child is compared to a sapling. Whilst a full-grown tree will endure harsh winds and severe weather, a sapling is vulnerable to even the slightest scratch. On a full-grown tree the scratch will go unnoticed. Yet, on a sapling it will cause severe permanent damage.

The Rebbe was the quickest to enact this analogy to real life. To the Rebbe, every detail counted, especially when dealing with a child, whose life is being molded by everything he or she hears and sees.

In June 1984, the editorial board wished to include a cartoon aiming to present the teachings of Ethics of our Fathers in a form that would capture the imagination of young readers, in the form of comics. Having received a mixed response about the comics, the editors wrote to the Rebbe asking his advice. Several samples were submitted.

The Rebbe's response (free rendition from the Hebrew):

The central purpose of the magazine is for children, very young ones in particular, therefore experienced educators must resolve in all the above. In general there is no need to be pictures of non-kosher animals.

It isn't proper to draw people specifically abnormal (very fat, very long noses, etc.), although this has become the norm in the comic world. My opinion is that this is a serious educational error, because when dealing with children, the more simple and normal, the better the effect. (In my opinion the same applies concerning adults).

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Elie Estrin seattle, wa via June 15, 2007

Mendy and the Golem Just a point that the Rebbe received all the original Mendy and the Golem comic books. He responded to every one of them besides for two, the answer of "Niskabel veta"ch" - "Received, with pleasure". (The two he did not respond to were the final issue, and one issue which they worked on Chol HaMoed to release on time.) Obviously, the Rebbe appreciated Mendy and the Golem for the perspectives mentioned in this article.

I have heard that this appreciation extended also from the Rebbetzin - I will post details when I substantiate them. Reply

Anonymous Oakland, CA July 2, 2006

Reading Matter for Children I take great issue with how my grandson is being raised. When he was only 3 years old, his mother was reading a very advanced book to him, though I told her that it was beyond his develomental capacity. Because she thought that he understood the vocabulary, she continued to read it to him. Today, at almot 9 years, he reads excellently and can tackle rather advanced books. He has the vocabulary, but not the depth of understanding. My point is that children should not be pushed! They will develop in their own time, but they must be given very positive materials and healthy encouragement.

Furthermore, the Rebbe is correct about keeping it "simple and normal." Reply

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