For the Jewish New Year, I thought it would be appropriate to finally share a couple of articles related to Doctor Who and Judaism that came to my attention over the past week.
First, Rabbi Pamela Gottfried wrote a piece for the site My Jewish Learning, with the title “Taking the TARDIS to God.” Although not a Whovian herself, the TARDIS seemed to her to play a similar role for Whovians that prayer plays for her. Before one dismisses the comparison, reflect on the effect the sound of the arrival of the TARDIS has on characters within the show, and on fans in the real world. Marking a change of focus, the possibility of hope, and the transformation of life, two very different symbolic activities – telling stories and saying prayers – may have more in common than first appears.
Second, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat offered reflections on her Velveteen Rabbi blog about Doctor Who and repentance. The depiction of regeneration on the show provides opportunity to think about new beginnings and what they mean. The theme of atonement, of showing change in practical ways, has also been a prominent theme on the show on occasion. In the process of exploring this topic, Rabbi Barenblat shares some other Doctor Who analogies and contrasts that a student mentioned in the context of preparations for his bar mitzvah.
Finally, somehow I missed initially that the words Clara spoke in the episode “Listen,” “Fear makes companions of us all,” are words the First Doctor speaks in the first episode of Doctor Who, “An Unearthly Child.”