On the Mortal Instruments series

Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero

By Michelle Hodkin


We have existed for centuries. Our days begin at night. We can’t eat what our neighbors eat. Who are we?


If you guessed “Jews,” you would be right.

If you guessed “vampires,” you would also be right.

And if you guessed “Jewish vampires,” you would be thinking of Simon Lewis.

Jews and Vampires as “Other”

Historically, the Jewish people are culturally “Other,” a minority that has existed for centuries despite plenty of persecution and comprising less than 0.2 percent of the world’s population. We are a nomadic people, in exile from the Jewish homeland since before the common era. But despite our long history of persecution, despite our tiny numbers, despite the fact that those numbers are spread all over the world in the Diaspora (more literally translated as exile)–despite all of this, the Jewish people have remained virtually unchanged for millennia. Jews still eat matzo, unleavened bread, on Passover in Bangkok and Tel Aviv. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a ram’s horn, the shofar, is still blown in synagogues in Fiji and Finland. The Jewish people have fasted on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, since before Christianity existed. Civilizations rise and fall, but the Jewish people still exist, a wandering nation among nations. The world may change, but we remain.

As a people, Jews have cultural, religious, and behavioral restrictions, obligations, codes, and standards of conduct that set us apart from the rest of the world. The Torah and Talmud codify laws that govern every moment of a Jewish person’s day  …

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