What’s short, green, and covered in candy? The first Jewish Disney princess, of course!
Back in 2012 while you dozed off watching Wreck-It Ralph in theaters with your kids, you might’ve missed an important moment in Disney history. At the end of the movie, the title character’s best friend Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman, reveals she’s a royal in exile — thus making her Royal Highness the very first Jewish Disney princess.
Granted, Disney never officially confirmed Princess Vanellope’s religion or heritage, but that doesn’t matter to Sarah Silverman. On International Women’s Day earlier this year, Disney tweeted a series of diverse Disney princesses, but left our prized Jewish princess out.
Um you’re missing a lil Jewish girl in a green hoodie & candy stuck2 her hair https://t.co/Scp6efOBud
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) March 9, 2018
“Um, you’re missing a lil Jewish girl in a green hoodie and candy stuck to her hair,” Silverman wrote.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment to promote the movie’s upcoming sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, the Jewish comedian made a case for Vanellope’s Judaism.
“I say she is [Jewish],” Silverman said. “Nobody has said no. So, yeah.”
Other than the fact that “nobody has said no,” why is Princess Vanellope Jewish? For one, Silverman says they have some similar traits. “She’s feisty, she says what’s on her mind, she’s a little pushy.” Ah, a stereotypical Jewish woman’s triple threat — we’re convinced!
Ralph Breaks the Internet directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston heartily agreed with Silverman.
“A Jewish animated princess, absolutely,” Johnston said.
“I think that very much so,” Moore added.
The addition of a Jewish character (with German roots, we assume?) is a turning point in Disney history. Hollywood icon Walt Disney is notorious for dipping his toes in anti-Semitism: He was a member of the anti-Semitic Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, and in 1938, just a month after Kristallnacht, he gave Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl a personal tour of the studio. It only took the House of Mouse 81 years (Snow White being the first princess in 1937) to include a Jewish character in the now diverse cohort of Disney princess.
Would Disney roll over in his grave if he knew about the feisty new addition to the Princess family? Probably. Are we kvelling over this victory? Absolutely.