Jerusalem Report

A superhero from the shtetl

In creating Superman’s universe, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster found inspiration in their heartbreaks, failures and daily travails.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (right) view a cartoon of themselves with Superman
Photo by: DEBRIS 2008
Superman was  born light years away as the last scion of a learned elite on the dying planet of Krypton, with its two moons, scorching red sun and menagerie of fantastic creatures. Or so comic book lore has it.

In reality, he saw the light of day right here on Earth, during the Great Depression, in the Yiddishkeit milieu of a hardscrabble Jewish area of Cleveland, Ohio, with its Orthodox synagogues, kosher butchers and Yiddish theaters. Nor was his real father Jor- El, a wise Kryptonite scientist; it was Jerome (Jerry) Siegel and Joe Shuster, two shy, maladjusted Jewish kids who loved pulp fiction and comic strips.

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