The true story behind TV’s strangest space Jew

Eight years ago, Atlantic writer Yair Rosenberg started trying to figure out why an obviously Jewish character suddenly showed up in a minor role in the science-fiction show Firefly, but no one in the show ever mentioned the fact that he was Jewish. He wound up interviewing the actor who played the character, who said the role triggered a desire to learn more about Judaism, and finally tracked down the producer to find out why the show chose to make the character Jewish.

I also learned from this piece that the term “Kwisatz Haderach,” which author Frank Herbert used in Dune to refer to Paul Atreides and the myth of a messiah, is a transliteration of a Jewish term, term kefitzat haderech (קפיצת הדרך), which means the “shortening of the way” or “leaping of the path.” As Rosenberg describes it, “the messiah, in other words, is the one who propels humanity forward to its ultimate destination.”

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