From Krypton to Memphis: Superman's Jewish Roots Explored at a Shul

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The cover of the very first Action Comics, 1 (June 1938, publisher: DC Comics). Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The clues are there: His name, Kal-El, translates in Hebrew to "voice of God." His parents, in a desperate measure to save their son, put him in a rocket from their doomed planet to Earth, a story that parallels the story of Moses and the reed basket in the Nile.

The Jewish roots of Superman, the 1930s creation of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, are explored at an exhibition at Temple Israel of Memphis, Tennessee.

"Superman: The Jewish Roots of America’s Super Hero," is based on memorabilia and artifacts collected by a synagogue member. The program explores "the influence of the Jewish experience on the evolution of Superman," the shul's website says.

"For Siegel and Shuster, Kal-El’s escape to Earth is the story of the Jews and their exodus from Egypt," the website says.

The temple, founded in 1854 as the first permanent shul in Tennessee, is now the Reform home to 1,600 families. It's hosting the exhibit through Dec. 31. 

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