In the late 1970s and early 1980’s it began…the demystification of the DC comic books. Superman was introduced as a live version of the comic book series every child had grown to love and cherish from the time the first Superman character was introduced in 1938.
I am sure that you are wondering what else was happening in the world in 1938? It is no coincidence that on March 12, 1938, German troops, under Hitler’s command, marched into Austria to seize the Austrian government and unite their nation with Nazi Germany, and the Third Reich.
In addition, in 1938, the largest source of Petroleum in the world was found in Saudi Arabia. This was the precedent for many other precious oil sources discovered in the Middle East.
This was also a time of the Arab Revolt in British Palestine, for the Arabs were protesting for their rights to Independence, and for denying the right of the Jewish immigrants to buy land, or immigrate to a land they eagerly referred to as the “Jewish National Home.”
All three of the above historical references reflected a need for the birth of a Superman…a man brought to Earth from a foreign land of Krypton that can solve the world’s problems in a single bound.
Superman was born from the imagination of a young writer named Jerry Siegel, and his illustrator Joe Schuster. Both men, ironically were Jewish. And, many commentators note that there are Biblical similarities between the story of Moses, a simple Jew who must plead his case for the release of the Jews from the land of Egypt. Moses was a man, complete with a speech impediment, and a life he had chosen to live astray, with Jethro and his wandering family beyond the confines of the wealth and splendor of the Egyptian rulers of the time.
When did Supergirl enter the picture? Supergirl was a character introduced in 1952 to Action Comics (#252), and published by DC Comics, by writers Otto Binder and Al Plastino. She has unique flying powers, with super-strength, and psychokinetic abilities, she can shapeshift, cloak (using invisibility powers that make her undetectable to others), she can fly, and possesses super-strength (like Superman).
Basically, Supergirl is a newer, more snazzy version of Superman. While she does not get as much screen time as Superman, she is unique and brilliant in her ways she can be called to the scene of the crime, quickly assess the situation, shapeshift through her invisibility, and then use her strength to an incredible advantage versus her opponent. She is a beautiful, strong and determined person who fights evil, like her mentor Superman.
There is a song about a Supergirl that I just heard on the radio, and I thought about its words:
And then she’d say, “It’s alright”
“I got home late last night, but I’m a supergirl”
And supergirls just fly… (Reamonn 2000, Album: Tuesday)
Warren Buffet writes that this song reflects on the “challenges and insecurities faced by an individual in a romantic relationship” (Buffett, Warren, IDtimeMusic, “The Meaning Behind the Song: Supergirl by Reamonn”, September 10, 2023). The main “character” of the song is Supergirl, a woman with extreme strength, character, and bravado. It is possible that beneath the mask of her tough exterior, she has some vulnerabilities that are hard to bear. Yet, the chorus of the song actually encourages the listener of the tale to take upon oneself the challenges head-on and plow ahead, to be strong and “just fly” to the next point, the next stop ahead.
I heard this song on the radio, and it reminded me of the Sabra spirit of the Israeli people. We are often called “Sabras” like the prickly pear fruit that is tough and hard on the outside but consists of a beautifully soft sweet center. Even more so, are the Israeli women. They are known to be a force to be reckoned with.
Israeli women are determined, tough, and strong. They fear nothing. They push themselves to the utmost tasks of being a student, a soldier, a mother, a best friend, a confidant, a lover, a giver, a peacemaker, and more.
Yet, beneath the tough outer bravado, there is a sweet and understanding soul. One that is boundless. A soul that can both exude love and humanity in one single smile to a gas attendant who looks worried and sad. Or, ask a cashier “How are you today? Is your family alright?” Or, to bring the neighbor who is stuck with three kids home, alone, because her husband was called back to serve in the Reserve IDF unit. a few sweet breakfast treats for the kids.
Yes, this Supergirl is flying here, amongst EVERY woman and young girl in this beautiful country. She is tough but sweet, and she is sharing her kind and simple acts of grace wherever she goes. She is my mother, my sister, she is my best friend, she is my neighbor, she is my colleague, she is my Rabbanit, she is my First Lady, she is EVERY ISRAELI WOMAN.
She is Supergirl, and Supergirls just fly.
N.B. My neighbor confirmed that at the end of his life, Christopher Reves (the actor who played Superman in 1979) was flown to Israel for treatment of his paralysis. My neighbor saw him flying in First Class on an El Al flight that she was on to the same destination. How wonderful it is that he and his family tried to find the best treatment possible for his paralysis in the Land of Israel. Superman was being treated by Supermen and Superwomen who were trying to save this great man’s dignity by giving him the power to fly once again.