Can a boy from the rather Jewish neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, still dealing with the aftereffects of a bite from a radioactive spider, save Rosh Hashanah with the help of an older Jewish friend from the Lower East Side?
That’s the question raised by “An UnBEElievable Rosh Hashanah,” a new episode of the cartoon “Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends” scheduled to be released on Disney Channel and Disney Junior on the first day of the Jewish New Year.
In the episode, the show’s pint-sized spider-costumed heroes — Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and Gwen Stacy — join forces with Ben Grimm, the Lower East Side’s Thing, one of the Fantastic Four — to recover bees stolen by Gobby, the cartoon’s safe-for-kids, said-to-be-adorable version of classic Spider-Man villain Green Goblin.
While creators Stan Lee and Steve Dikto placed Peter Parker in Forest Hills in his first comic book appearance back in 1961 — this was only a couple of years after not-yet-famous Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel had graduated from Forest Hills High School — it is only in recent years that creators of films such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” defined the original friendly neighborhood Peter Parker Spider-Man as canonically Jewish. Ben Grimm, who similarly debuted in 1961 in a script by Mr. Lee, was officially revealed to be Jewish in a 2002 comic.
The Rosh Hashanah Spidey episode was announced by Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, during the Disney Junior & Friends Playdate event at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim. He also announced several other holiday-themed Disney episodes for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.
We have no doubt that the Rosh Hashanah Spidey episode will be, as the kids say, “the bees knees.” We hope it leads the way for the holiday special of our dreams, an animated exploration of Shemini Atzeret that might finally fill us in on what the heck that holiday is all about.