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HBO’s True Blood Libel

This week, the popular vampire series finally incorporated a Jewish theme—and played into a centuries-old slur

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Christopher Meloni in this week’s episode of True Blood. (John P. Johnson/HBO)

The fifth season of HBO’s vampire-centric series True Blood is now under way. After four years of not touching a Jewish character or Jewish issue with a 10-foot stake, the series finally went there. And it wasn’t pretty.

On Sunday’s episode, we learned of the existence of the Vampire Bible, a text predating the Hebrew Bible in which God (a vampire, of course) created Lilith in his own image and then created Adam and Eve—to be her food. We were then treated to a loony communion scene in which several characters drank blood drawn straight from their spiritual leader’s wrist, while chanting vampire-inflected, bastardized Hebrew.

Vey iz mir, True Blood! Do you have any clue what you’re messing around with here?

The writers of the show surely know that Jews, like vampires, have historically been accused of drinking blood as part of religious rituals. Hearing a Hebrew-spiked prayer in any ritualistic blood-drinking context—let alone one taking place in a room adorned with tablet-shaped panels and kinda-sorta-Jewish-looking eight-pointed stars—made me wince, an indication that even today, the potency of the term “blood libel” persists. Pair the blood-drinking action with a scene in which a cabal of sinister rulers prays, using recognizable Hebrew words, to “Lord and Lilith, father and mother,” and swear fealty “to the blood and the progenitor,” and well, my hackles rise.

What makes this especially disturbing is that this is the first time the show has shown any interest in Jewish culture. Until now, the vampires on True Blood have been a not-very-metaphorically-stretchy metaphor for gay people. But of course, Jews are outsiders, too. Anxiety about blood is one reason straight people have feared gay people; Jews, too, are associated with an unnerving mythology about blood—in an even more literal parallel than that of gay men. Furthermore, vampires are repelled by crosses and holy water, two things that uneducated peasants might assume would also repel Jews. So, suddenly seeing symbology that’s historically been used to oppress Jews repurposed by unsympathetic characters in a way clearly meant to invoke the idea of blood libel is more than a little unnerving. And yes, culturally insensitive.

It’s a wasted opportunity, too. One issue the show keeps wrestling with, an issue that feels particularly resonant after Sunday’s episode, is acculturation. This week, we met a new character, Roman, the head of the Vampire Authority (a sort of rabbinic vampire council) played by Chris Meloni (of Law & Vampire). Roman declared, “Coexistence with humans is not an option … it is a necessity.” Meanwhile, we get all this creepy semi-Hebrew—thanks to on-screen translations, we know that breishita means first, tamid means eternal, and abba v’ima means father and mother, for instance—and all that blood-drippy sippy ritual. Even as Roman talks about coexistence, he’s depicted drinking blood and praying to a baby-strangling Jewish succubus demon, all of which made me question just how successful our own acculturation has been.

Like vampires, we Jews have been the dark, feared people trying to “pass” in a wider culture that considers us both attractive (we make money! we are smart!) and repellent. Like vampires, we’ve been perceived as a sexual threat. We, too, have been viewed as leeches and parasites, sometimes metaphorically (as in charges of usury), but other times quite literally: Romanian psychologist Peter Dan points out that “Karl Lueger, the mayor of Vienna from 1897 to 1910, a man Hitler called ‘an inspiration,’ referred to the Jews as ‘Blutsauger’—a word meaning ‘bloodsucker’ or ‘vampire.’ ” And now here’s Chris Meloni invoking abba v’ima while dripping blood into the evil mouths of the faithful. Plus ça change.

The questions True Blood constantly raises about assimilation vs. clannishness are of course relevant to us. Roman’s line about the necessity of coexistence recalls how the Jewish community today is riven between those who want to acculturate and those who urge separatism. How desirable is passing? One vampire, the deliciously crazed, bloodthirsty Russell Edgington (played with scenery-chomping gusto by Denis O’Hare), has rejected vampire-human multicultural outreach entirely. Russell popped up on a newscast a couple of seasons ago to rip out the heart of an anchorman and destroy the carefully crafted message of vampires! they’re just like us! fostered by the American Vampire League, a P.R. organization for vampires. With his face covered in blood and viscera, Russell snarled, “We are nothing like you. We are immortal! Why would we seek equal rights? You are not our equals! We will eat you after we eat your children! Now, time for the weather. Tiffany?”

Unlike Russell, some vampires on the show are menschy. Bill, a basically sympathetic character, desperately seeks “mainstreaming,” prefers consensual, monogamous bloodsucking, and is nice to old people. He wants to step into the (figurative) light. But now Bill and the (naughtier but still sympathetic) hot Nordic blond vampire Eric have fallen into the clutches of the evil Hebrew-ishly-chanting, blood-ritual-doing vampires who preach integration into majority culture while doing unholy cultish Jew-y things in private, and well, this feels Bad for the Jews.

The premise of the show is that vampires could finally come out of the coffin once the Japanese developed a synthetic blood substitute. Unfortunately, in real life, we Jews lacked such a simple, clear signal that it was safe to come out as Jews. One could argue that the lesson of Jewish history, much like that of a horror movie, is that once you think the danger’s past, something horrible leaps out of the dark. Unintentionally, perhaps, invoking blood libel and Hebrew prayer is a reminder that we’re more Other than some of us would like to think.


Of course, I realize that this is a campy TV show. But I wonder whether part of the problem is how relentlessly goyish this show has always been. If there had been any Jewish characters (uh, ever, in five seasons) to counter the portrayal we saw this week, it might feel less opportunistically creepy. I know that the fictional, swampy town of Bon Temps, La., where the show is set, is unlikely to have a shul. But the vampire bar Fangtasia is in nearby Shreveport, a real live place with real live Jews. Shreveport has had three Jewish mayors! (I read it on Wikipedia.) And Fangtasia is a very popular vampire bar, so you’d think it would have a Jewish accountant. Or a Jewish lawyer, what with all the people getting their blood drained in the parking lot and beaten up by “God hates fangs” protesters outside.

But not only has this show not had any Jewish characters, it’s barely had any Jewish actors. Only two major characters were portrayed by Jews: Lizzy Caplan played Amy, Jason Stackhouse’s privileged, slumming, vampire-blood-addicted girlfriend, and Evan Rachel Wood played Sophie-Anne, the crazy-eyed Vampire Queen of Louisiana. But those characters are dead, and guess what: While there have been 169 actors who have appeared in the credits of this show (I’m nearly as good with IMDb as I am with Wikipedia), only a handful—Lauren Weedman, Andrew Rothenberg, Dahlia Weingort—have names that suggest they might be members of the tribe. Star Trek had more Jews, and it was set in outer space.

There was even a joke about the show’s goyishness in the first episode of this season. When hot Nordic blond vampire Eric got his emergency fake-ID papers (if you’re not a watcher of this show, just go with it), he discovered that his new name was Ike Applebaum. This Jewish-sounding name prompted him to raise his eyebrow sardonically. Oh, ho ho. When hot Nordic blond vampire Eric was promptly captured by the Vampire Authority, it became clear that there would be no “Ike Applebaum, Vampire CPA” plotline. But what if there had been? What if the show were to explore, sympathetically, the inner lives of the Jewish undead?

It’s a shame the show had to other-ify us so harshly on Sunday when it could have drawn a far more sympathetic (and nuanced, and interesting) parallel between Jews and vampires. You know, more like the one it’s been drawing between vampires and gays for five seasons. Maybe it’s time to add a non-caricatured, non-cartoonishly evil Jewish character to the mix. Maybe a confused Chabadnik who comes to Bon Temps to recruit and discovers that he’s a shapeshifter? Or a tortured Golem yearning for a father, brought forth from the boggy soil of the bayou? I’m not saying the show has to treat Jews seriously—not when it’s teeming with over-the-top portrayals of Maenads, werewolves, witches, fairies, and brujos. But maybe in the future it can avoid invoking real hatred and misunderstanding that caused the deaths of so many actual people and treat us with the same kind of non-invisibility with which it treats its non-humans.


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Dawn Nikithser says:

You raise interesting points, but the Authority and organization thereof always struck me as far more Vatican than Jewish. That said, the use of Hebrew rather than Latin was a misfire, but since they are using the Lilith mythos (which has been used in vampire literature before), I suspect they felt Hebrew(ish) made more sense. 

This is also not the first time TB has pissed all over mythologies and cultural folklore. But I don’t think it’s done intentionally or maliciously. It seems more like laziness, unfortunately. 

Wow what a silly article. Does everything have to be about Jews?

    Oh, yes.  Didn’t you know we control the world?  Get a grip and accept that just because a group has the chutzpah to shed light on injustice or insult, that doesn’t make that group anything other than a people in pursuit of fair treatment.  It wasn’t ‘all about the Jews’ when we stood up in Skokie.  It wasn’t all about us when we support or condemn Israel for its actions, either.  Get it, or is your perception a bit too clouded to see this truth?

      What are you on about? I was simply commenting on the author seeing plots and maleficence behind everything. 

        You are commenting on the author, writing for a Jewish publication, having a Jewish focus?  What are YOU on about?  “Does everything have to be about the Jews” may not be a negative comment about the faith and those who practice it, but it sure sounds like it.

    David Gold says:

    true as it certainly should not be always about christians

I think the conclusions drawn on this episode say a lot more about the author than they do about the show.  Suddenly now you’re going to draw a parallel to “bloodsuckers” and Jews…They’re all blood-suckers – they’re vampires, it’s what they do – not just the authority.  You talk about the absence of any Jewish character, but now suddenly the show is confounding all vampires with Jews?  Beyond that, the first four seasons have been an onslaught of critique of the fundamental Christian right, and the one time they evoke the old testament (or “original testament” as they claim) over the new, a Jew is going to cry foul?  As a committed Jew myself who often sees connections, sometimes insightful and sometimes downright offensive,  in popular culture, this attempt at connection was a shallow one.  Did you miss the fact that they said “God” was a vampire too?  I think this scene says a lot more about human beings’ desperation to find God, be like God and sometimes create God, and feeding our narcissistic need to be at the center of everything…the world was created for us!  I found the scene, and the introduction of this plot line, fascinating and insightful.  All of us are capable of profaning the sacred – what so many of us often do when we espouse hatred or intolerance in the name of religion or tradition, or in more obscene cases, God.  This is not a show about Christians, or about Jews, or about Gays…It’s a show, however campy it may be, about the human condition and our very human foibles which we strive to overcome.

    Wow.  That sounded very aggressive.  Didn’t intend it as such.   Apologies to the author.  Please take the aggression for passion :)

I’m fairly certain he was speaking Aramaic, not Hebrew.

Godot is Waiting says:

God bless my grandmother.  She was always so aware of what was “good for the Jews” or “bad for the Jews”.  In her time, the Rosenbergs were bftJ, but Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas were gftJ.  I can imagine what she would have said abut Milken and every other gonif who got away with ponzis and pyramid scams and left “their own people” in lives of desperation and need.  So what is good for the Jews and what is bad?  And what if you are Jewish and gay?  Oy, a shonda?  I’m not so sure.  Instead of complaining about supposed mistreatment, why not do what is so important in our culture for centuries?  Why not educate?  Why not let the powers that be at TB know that there are other and more clever ways to make their point about the actual beginning of the “vampire” cult(ure) and their Hebraic foundation.  And hey, why is there an Italian playing a Jewish vampire?    I think Anne Rice only went back to the Egyptians for her primary vampires.  And in the long run, this is a guilty pleasure t.v. show.  Sometimes a vampire is just a vampire.  After all, as Roman Polanski pointed out when his Jewish vampire was confronted with a crucifix….”It wouldn’t help!”

    Now might be the time to make a film based on the book “Mistress of the Art of Death”, a historical fiction about blood libel in 12th century Britain which dispels a lot of myths about Jews, women, crusaders, the church while engaging the readers in a gripping detective story. Should be on The Tablet’s recommended reads, if it isn’t already.

    Royq says:

    I thought the line was, “You got the wrong vampire!”

    ricksonelliot says:

    What if hbo did a factual story on how madoff ripped of Christian investors and European banks while enriching the early investors all Jews? Would that be ok? No of course not, Jews continue to harm non Jews and media cover up for them because it is”not good for the Jews”

    The Rosenburgs? Like Ethal and Joel who were executed because they were accused of being communists with little to no evidence. Isn’t that the mother of anti-semitic stereotypes being carried out by the United States government to justify the murder of two Jews. What was the other country in the 20th century that did that? Where was it…somewhere in Europe I think, maybe…

I always thought this show was a thinly veiled parable about intergroup relations, more about how incredibly human supernatural beings can be when they relate to each other.  That being said, yeah, c’mon, at least one stinking Jewish vampire.  They don’t have to be in Bon Temps.  How about New Orleans.

    How do you actually know there are no Jewish vampires on the show? I don’t go up to people and tell them I’m Jewish, do you? I’d imagine being Jewish is one of the lesser interesting things about a vampire. Just sayin’.

      This is a tv show with deep histories of it’s leads and most interesting characters. I feel pretty confident Mr. Ball and company would be certain to let you know if one of their characters was jewish.

philipmann says:

  Doesn`t a ritualised drinking of blood have more to do with Christian mass  anything we have to offer ?

    The whole thing including the Lilith Mythos is likely pre-Abramahic. It is so old it is probably rooted in near Eastern Paganism. Creation stories also abound from many sources. We as Jews need to chill out over a TV Program.

      plus how many times do TV portrait Christians so badly and the majority dont pay attention or get offended? Plus TV is owned by Jews, they wouldnt show something offense to Jews.. very few times you see that on TV. Take Islam or christianity stereotypes or looking at races: Chinese or Russians? Never the ones saving the day eh?

    Colin O'Connor says:

    The better question is why it is no big deal to cast Christians as villains but taboo to do so for Jews.

Since the HBO series is quite loosely based on the book series, which as I recall also doesn’t have Jewish characters, I’m not really seeing the issue with ancient vampires speaking Aramaic and talking about Lilit.  Since we also don’t view her in such positive terms and others have seen her as a vampire like creature, this is simply reaching back for foundational mythology.  Rather intriguing foundational mythology at that to create predators and then create prey for them.  Are we going to take vampires to taks for rejecting evolution as well?

So I count two times this article suggests True Blood should have gone with a storyline about Jewish accountant.  Perhaps the Jew-as-Accountant stereotype is less dangerous than the Jew-as-Bloodsucker, but it’s no more enlightened.

Ms. Ingall, that’s your opinion. I don’t think most of the Jewish orgs (like ADL, e.g.) would be thrilled with a Jewish vampire for precisely the reason you mention – the blood libel. 

And, since you also went for possible places to “insert” Jewish characters, I also don’t feel like your running to another stereotype – the Jewish accountant – is such a great thing either. Jews don’t just do accounting. We’re also doctors and lawyers :) Ok, that was just a joke, but – in reality – we’re not just doctors and lawyers. And my point stands – you can put in Jews, if that’s what you decide to do, at any point.

    ricksonelliot says:

    What about a story on Jewish tribal nepotism? Is that fact taboo also?

    Supreme court justice Kagan was vilified for hiring 26 people “all white” but media or her detractors were terrified to point out ” they were all Jews”

IHateScams says:

What would have been the icing on the cake would have the Creator as a feminine persona.  They missed the chance to totally pervert the Creation account. 

jparritz says:

As a card-carrying MOT, and True Blood devotee, I have to say that I thiink this writer’s concern is misplaced. I was surprised but not troubled by the quasi-Hebrew references in the last episode. True Blood is an equal opportunity antagonist. The vamps on the show include all types: religious fanatics, spiritual seekers, separatists, integrationists, Nords, Southerners,Christians, Jewishy types, all kinds. The overarching theme seems to be an indictment of all sorts of unchecked power and fanatacism.

    Colin O'Connor says:

    That’s more like it. Remember the congregation of the sun from season 2? If there were a Jewish synagogue depicted this way it would have been an uproar.

good article but it is just a show and its not that deep

DANGAR777 says:

Interesting article.  

Self self says:

I have done graduate studies in Hebrew and Aramaic. The language they were speaking was ARAMAIC, not Hebrew. Since Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Ancient Near East from at least the time of the Persian Empire (c. 6th century BCE), I interpreted the use of ARAMAIC to show that these vampires were an ancient people going back perhaps to the time of Cambyses.

The use of ARAMAIC means they could be connected to any ancient people from the Nile to the Indus River Valley.

Certainly, the symbolism of the Authority is more Roman Catholic than Jewish.

    I accidentally hit the “vote down” button instead of “vote up” here. Sorry.

    Frumious FalafeI says:

    Yes, but — who alive (with the exception of scholars such as yourself) can recognize Aramaic as distinguished from Hebrew? Even non-Jews can recognize “Baruch Atah Adonois…” as being “something Jewish,” or “something Hebrew.” So while your point is taken, it seems a distinction without a difference.

    Furthermore, while it’s often true that we Jews are over-sensitive to this sort of thing, I don’t think one can claim that in this example. I disagree with Mr Zimmerman above. Do I think that this is of “paramount importance?” That is, do I think this show is so influential that it will now cause pogroms? No. But then again, the author didn’t make that claim either. Nor did the author make *any* claim as to potential real-world ramifications. Thus the only thing one may disagree with is the author’s analysis of this episode — an analysis which I thought to be highly reasonable.

    I am generally on the side of those who scoff at those of us who are over-sensitive to negative portrayals in entertainment. But here, the parallels are simply too great to ignore. If they weren’t enough, the overt use words, whether or not derived from Aramaic (or are Aramaic proper) is irrelevant as, again, most will hear it as Hebrew.

    Why choose to portray a Jewish theme using the *worst* of uh… misconceptions about Judaism? Do the show, minus the overt Jewish linkage. Or, do a Jewish-themed show minus the terrible tropes which reenforce the worst anti-Jewish superstitions. And if you think “we’re too modern” to take them seriously: that may be true in the US (although not to the extent one may think), but it most definitely is not true in a myriad of other countries where this show will eventually be seen. Indeed, just look at “Valley of the Wolves” — a Turkish film which thousands if not millions of Middle Easterners took as a quasi-documentary. It’s a wildly popular virulently anti-Israel / anti-Jewish (not to mention, anti-American) film which was so immensely successful, it spawned 6(!) sequels. Shamefully both Bill Zane and Gary Busey starred in it.

    Lastly, if you think I’m asking too much from the producers and writers, consider how carefully the show abides by the sensitivities of the Gay community. If it can walk that minefield, it can certainly do a better job of not tripping over (in a single episode, no less) most of the horrendously anti-Jewish deceits invented over the past thousand years .

    I mean please, paint us as money-grubbers before you paint us as literal blood-suckers (an actual view which has incited an untold number of *actual* pogroms — as well as a metaphoric view which has incited an untold number of “soft-pogroms”).

      Anonymous says:

      A typically Jewish ethnocentric mindset.

      baltasar almudárriz says:

      So much baggage— do you enjoy punishing yourself like that?

      If the shoe fits- wear it — if it doesn’t DON’T.

      Honestly, if you see this you might be the one with the negative connotation of Jews. Because I don’t see it. I also dont’ want to hit the Anonymous belows like, but dudes got a point. Get over yourself.

      James Hayes-Barber says:

      “Even non-Jews can recognize “Baruch Atah Adonois…” as being “something Jewish,” or “something Hebrew.””

      Uh, can you confirm that? Because as a non-jew I don’t rather like the idea of you forming a persecuted complex based on what you THINK they are meant to be an allegory for.

      Death of the Author is in full effect and when I see both Catholics and Jews seeing The Authority as a satire of them (as well as several politcla parties) I’m less inclined to see any actions on the part of the writers, and more inclined to think that people see what they want to see in it.

Michael Shapiro says:

I did watch 1.5 episodes of this show, which gives me infinite rights to comment on the show.

The problem may be that we are much more sensitive to the blood libel (still prevalent in many areas of the US and throughout the world, remembering that everything is global, these days) than the Vatican is about the obvious parallel between a vampire sucking blood and communion.  Also, the Hierarchy of the Church is something that Catholicism understands and takes as a given. As for us, we have the problem of dealing with the “Protocols”, which set up a hierarchy and anything that reinforces that myth can be problematic.

On the other hand, given a choice, I’d rather be seen as a sexy vampire than as a, currently popular, zombie.  Just sayin’!

Eliana_Sagarin says:

While this article raises some interesting ideas and forms some sound connections, I find it has an overly judeo-centric/sensitive reading to what I think was an empowering moment in the series (as a lover of the show and an observant Jew). If I’m not mistaken, Lilith has been reclaimed in recent history as a figure of (female) Jewish power. The magazine called “Lilith”‘s slogan is “Independent, Jewish, and frankly feminist”- not “blood-sucking, whorish, and absolutely self-loathing”. Something that the show does well is take things that make some people uncomfortable (homosexuality, religion, sex, drug use etc.) and camps them up (often under the guise of fantasy) to expose the origins of our insecurities. Lilith is a character that many people may find problematic, so giving her some screen time (vis a vie Roman etc.) could lead interesting places, and I for one look forward to seeing how this might play out in future episodes.

The language they were speaking was Aramaic, translated into English by HUC’s own Rabbi Dvora Weisberg.

Actually, they were speaking in Aramaic, not Hebrew. And the story of Lilith is a story that appears in both Christian and Jewish commentary….

Anti-semites, particularly in the late 19th century, associated us with vampires and vampirism, stemming of course from the ridiculous but undying (pun intended) blood libel.  Dracula himself has anti-semetic roots, and if you haven’t read DuMarier’s Trilby, a book that introduces Svengali, the mesmerizing Polish Jew, you should.  Both True Blood and the X-Men (Magneto is classic Jewish blood sucker) are not doing us any favors. 

And what are we to make of this clip:
“Hamas suicide terrorist farewell video: Palestinians drink the blood of Jews”
formerly at http ://

Dov_Forest_Hills says:

As a True Blood fan and a Jew I was also surprised to to hear something like Hebrew in that scene. Using google I was able to determine that this was supposed to be Aramaic translated by a Rabbi. Since it was Aramaic, and not Hebrew, I wouldn’t be too upset. At least it wasn’t Arabic. It probably would have been much harder to use ancient Egyptian or some other dead language. We all should know that many non-Jews spoke Aramaic. That’s why we say ha Lachma Anya in Aramaic.

Whenever I have seen television programs that presented recognizably Jewish villains, those so portrayed have invariably been orthodox, observant, religious Jews. Why is that?

The Dude says:

Seriously?! Tone down the shrillness. They used ancient Aramaic and references to the Vampire Bible and a blood ritual (duh, they are VAMPIRES) and you see Mel Gibson. Come on. Don’t tar this show with Jewish paranoia. We have enough real things in the world to be paranoid about then seeing the Boogey Man in Bon Temps(SP) Louisiana.

Mersenne says:

“While there have been 169 actors…only a handful …have names that suggest they might (italics) be members of the tribe.”

Uh, here in the 21st century Jews walk among us who don’t have stereotypical “Jewish” names. Take me, for example. My name is English; my looks, fat older Viking. Or maybe you don’t consider me to be a “member of the tribe”? I’m no stranger to Jewish prejudice to the “goyim,” especially those who convert.

As someone who’s studied Hebrew, I assure you the language spoken in that hilarious scene was either fake Hebrew or Aramaic. I suspect the latter. Aramaic is a language common to both Judaism and Christianity. Ditto the Lilith myth. And wasn’t there a whiff of the Gnostic Gospels in the vampires’ spiritual approach?

Why wouldn’t vampires create a vampire-centric faith? Don’t we humans have a human-centric one? One of “True Blood’s” major themes is the absurdities of religion, especially Southern-style Protestant evangelicalism.

Back to the issue of the Jew-count. Are you proposing a sort of affirmative action for Jews in show business, or just in every show that doesn’t feature my faith by choice? Seriously? Last time I watched the credits of most of the shows I enjoy, those of my people with stereotypical “Jewish” names were disproportionately represented. It’s refreshing to let others sometimes have the spotlight, no?

emunadate says:

I hope this show doesn’t have a ripple effect on the jewish community. antisemitism is present in the world. let’s not forget what happened in europe…

I think that something should be made clear here. This series is HEAVILY, and I mean, HEAVILY based on a pen and paper role-playing game from the 90’s, Vampire: The Masquerade, by White Wolf. A few differences have been made, probably to avoid being sued, but most things can be recognized. Among the differences, is that basis of Vampire: The Masquerade is that God punished Cain for his sins, making him the first vampire. Lilith makes an appearance, as the progenitor for the werepeople. I don’t think this created any offence to Jewish people, but I might have missed it. The thing is that the whole “Lilith/Aramic speech” thing, to me (a gentile), sounds more like a trope to give an idea of extreme ancientness, rather than a subtle attack to Jews.

The main point I want to make, anyway, is that pairing Lilith with vampires or other denizens, isn’t a new thing and definitely not something made up by HBO. White Wolf, who also made other horror-based games, often including Jewish view on the subject they were treating. In Demon: The Fallen, a RPG dealing with the apocalypse from the fallen angels point of view, there is a lot of Jewish lore, but always in a respectful way. In a book accessory, there is a superb passage dealing with a young rabbi confronting a captured dybbuk.

Dudes, accept a remark from a gentile. I know it might sound not very respectful, but it’s not our fault if your mysticism is so fascinating. :-)


“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” As a Black man, I sometimes read subtext into media or people’s reactions to me as racist or overtly race conscious when the other person wasn’t even thinking about race. True Blood strikes me as being more about sexuality than race or culture. But then, those are the sunglasses I wear. My sight may be obscured.

This article is yet another manifestation of the pathology of some Jews, who compete with other minorities for victimhood.

For the record, True Blood isn’t exactly a gay paradise. It took forever for them to give Lafayette a sex scene and Reverend Newlin has been cast as a predatory effeminate punchline. While the show could use more Jewish characters, the parallels between vampires and gays (and the civil rights movement too) are problematic. Gays and black people didn’t survive for centuries by murdering whites and heterosexuals, while the fear of vampires exhibited by humans on this show is far more justified in light of characters like Russell Edgington. Do Jews really want in on a comparison in which they are an all powerful, violent minority with no respect for the majority?

Mike Tab says:

169 cast members, only 3 jews, so a little under 2%. However, the Jewish population in the US is actually… a little under 2%. And to “expect” to see a Jewish accountant or lawyer? If there was one, the complaint would be “of course the accountant/lawyer had to be Jewish!”.

There was no Hebrew used, only Aramaic, which existed for about 1,000 years before Jews started using it (around Jesus time). The only time Jews used Aramaic, was when the countries they lived in used Aramaic. That’s like saying characters speaking English must be American (despite it being spoken in a dozen countries, and having existed since before the creation of the US).

Also, the whole “blood libels” targeting Jews in the past would be very easy for the show to justify by just saying that vampires needed a scapegoat for what they were caught doing over history, and chose the Jews (as so many others have). It would even make sense.

Articles like this one do much more damage to the perception anyone might have of Jews, than anything in that episode. At the very least, they damage their authors’ reputation…

Howard Alper says:

The Society for Humanistic Judaism (SHJ), a collection of 29 affiliates, represents American cultural and secular Jews. To the extent that the recent True Blood episode taps into associations of the Blood Libel, SHJ deplores such associations, and implores the producers of True Blood to use more positive, and historically accurate, depictions of Jews and Jewish themes.

Thanks to all of those who question the innocence of blood libel associations.

Crypte Gardien says:

I have never read something more delusional than this, and I’ve read Mein Kampf.

Uzi T says:

the whole “world vs. jews” argument feels a bit on the paranoid side with this article but anyway..Just wanted to say I wouldn’t expect great things from this series, it has gone downhill after the first season. although.. with russel back and Christopher Meloni things could improve, these guys are excellent and always steal the show!

Yossi Cohen says:

being vampires could be cool i guess..
too bad we are just jews… just people that god created not any super human creatures…
nor werewolves nor vampires…

btw that was aramic…
so no jewish context here…

baltasar almudárriz says:

I was hanging out at a store the other day (Jewish-owned) —where the merchandise is typically priced twice as high as you can get it on-line (from another Jewish-owned shop) and overheard the owner selling the naive goyish couple an item. All the while – I kept thinking — you will be fleeced.

Ah get off it. I’m Jewish and I’m not offended. My friends watch the show, they haven’t started looking at me shifty eyed yet. Jesus. Are you going to be one of those people that bitches and whines everytime something even vaguely Jewish comes up. You know, we are a first world ethnic minority, and outside of a few Eastern European countries are totally institutionally secure. There will never be another holocaust. How about we talk about Palestinian occupation, or attitudes towards money perpetuated by banks or something a little more relevant than this. Cause you come off like a jack ass, seriously.

Did the author of this forget Jews are into blood sacrifice?

If a Jew says they are not practicers of or believers of blood sacrifice, ask them what they do with the blood they collect from their baby boys when the boys are mutilated in a religious ceremony we know as circumcision. Ask what happens to the blood taken from the mutilated penis by a Rabbi who (traditionally) sucks the blood from the penis or (modern method) collects the blood with a sterile tube.

this link has brilliant references and explicit details of the long history blood sacrfice has under Judaism.

Irina Brouda says:

I’m a Jew, and I saw nothing specifically offensive against my culture in S5 of True Blood. Frankly, I saw the Vampire Authority more like the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages with Roman being the Pope. It was a religious cult dedicated to worshipping Lilith, following her teachings, and preserving an artifact–a vial of her blood–much like the Catholic Church is dedicated to worshipping Jesus, following his teachings, and preserving artifacts associated with him. The language the vamps were using in their prayers was Aramaic not Hebrew because vampire religion predates Jewish religion on the show.
Yes, Lilith is a supernatural being from Jewish mythology, but I think it’s her association with the creation myth rather than her being Jewish that made TB writers choose her as the vampire god. Obviously, Jews don’t think that Lilith is a vampire since vampires don’t exist, but she is considered the mother of demons. Personally, I thought it was refreshing that vampires worshipped a female goddess for a change. And it was ironic that Bill merged with her.

Incidentally, TB also borrowed a supernatural being from Islamic mythology–the Ifrit–and I don’t see any Muslims interpreting that as an insult to their religion and culture. When it comes to vampires, we are talking about a fictional ancient culture that borrowed from and influenced the human cultures around it. The premise of True Blood is that vampires have always lived among us–they are not aliens from some imaginary world–so of course there is symbolism that harkens to real life religions.

Valerie says:

I think you meant to say, “Law and Order”, not “Law and Vampire”, right? Made me laugh, though.

Colin O'Connor says:

LOL I am non -religious but can’t help but laugh out how this show was perennially anti-Christian the moment it plays on Judaism everyone suddenly decides it must be offensive. Why is it commonplace to represent one religion like this and not another pray tell?

EthanP says:

You don’t for one F’n second think that this Jew/blood drinker reference is an accident! DO YOU!

Dio Canon says:

all I got about this winging 2 pages is that jews still havent got a synthetic blood to drink…

this is a real shame and threat to humans so please Japanese scientists, please give us true blood!


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HBO’s True Blood Libel

This week, the popular vampire series finally incorporated a Jewish theme—and played into a centuries-old slur