Why Twilight is actually a Jewish story

By Lauren Davidson, November 25, 2011
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I recently made the bold move of going public about my love for Twilight. I argued that it was a classic tale of love and loss, much like my favourite book Wuthering Heights, but I'm starting to think that my attraction to the franchise is rooted in something deeper.

Twilight is, at its core, the quintessential Jewish story.

Take Bella Swan, your archetypal Jewish girl. Her mum lives in Florida. Her dad is a big macher in the community, and the biggest smile we see on his face is when he finds out his daughter is still a virgin – which she remains until her wedding night.

So far, so Jewish.

But Bella is in love, and here the problems start. Despite her dad's efforts to set her up with the biblically-named (if a bit Sefardi looking) Jacob, a close friend of the family and an up-and-coming member of the Tribe, she has another man in her life. He is described as "the world's most dangerous predator". Allow me to introduce the non-Jewish boyfriend, Edward.

He leads Bella to the Catholic city of Volterra in Italy; Jacob, more of a beach boy, would surely have taken her to Tel Aviv

He loves the outdoors, and regularly misses school to go hiking, making the un-Jewish choice of nature over education. He leads Bella to the Catholic city of Volterra in Italy; Jacob, more of a beach boy, would surely have taken her to Tel Aviv. Needless to say, Edward is not allowed into the house through the front door.

"If you choose him, you'll be dead to me!" one can almost imagine Bella's father shouting melodramatically after hearing of the romance. Little did he know how true that would become.

Edward's family, the Cullens, are the outsiders of the community, who keep themselves to themselves. They have beautiful features, such as Rosalie's flowing blonde locks. They have odd goyishe names, like Carlisle and Emmett. And they drink blood, breaking one of the most central rules of kashrut. Imagine explaining that one to your grandparents.

At least the Cullens, knowing that they live in the Golders Green of Stephenie Meyer's fantasy world, have some respect for the kosher people around them. They leave the town when they want to eat and they refrain from drinking humans' blood, killing only animals instead – it's a bit like saying "OK, we won't eat pork around you, but at least let us have some proper traif steak".

Twilight is a tale of family, broigus and unusual dietary habits – and in the end there's an outrageously lavish wedding. It doesn't come more Jewish than that.

Lauren Davidson has recently emerged from three years at Cambridge University and is now one of London's young professionals - or trying to be. Follow her on Twitter.

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Last updated: 2:14pm, November 25 2011