This upcoming December, Disney Channel will air a Hanukkah-themed Elena of Avalor episode and, in it will be the very first Jewish Disney princess.
According to the network, the character has yet to be named but she will be visiting from a “Latino Jewish kingdom.”
That’s not all: former The Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler—whose father is Jewish and mother is Cuban but converted to Judaism when married—will voice the character. “I am so excited to voice Disney’s first Jewish princess,” the actress tweeted earlier this week.
Rachel Ruderman, a writer on the series, tweeted about her work on the episode on Wednesday: “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an #ElenaOfAvalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess. @JamieLSigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) and @CraigGerber_ directs it masterfully. Can’t wait to share this one!”
Although most celebrated, the announcement has also been met by some criticism. Detractors mention the character’s lack of a central storyline as the princess will only guest star in a single episode. Others have called out late Disney founder Walt Disney’s much-speculated anti-Semitic views.
Although this will be the first official Jewish princess on Disney’s roster, comedian Sarah Silverman had suggested that Vanellope von Schweetz, the character she voiced on 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, was actually Jewish, although that was never explicitly announced.