Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot, who rocketed to world fame with her starring role as comic book lore’s most popular female superhero, has become a proud spokesperson for the Holy Land by speaking in Hebrew during her recent stint as host of the popular American show Saturday Night Live (SNL).
During her opening monologue, a time when most SNL guests either poke fun of their public image, sing, or advertise their latest movie, Gadot first quipped that she knows that she speaks with an accent, because she is from Albuquerque. She then proudly stated that she is actually from Israel, throwing out, “Hi to Imma [אִמָא] and Abba [אַבָּא],” using the Hebrew terms for mother and father. She also gleefully noted that, for the first time, SNL was being broadcast live into Israel.
Gadot then did what many wish Israeli representatives in the United Nations would do: she spoke in Hebrew. “Hebrew is a living language,” Roni Segal, academic adviser for The Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, a company which teaches Hebrew language and Biblical studies online, told Breaking Israel News. “The more people speak Hebrew, especially well-known individuals, the more the message is spread that Israel is here to stay, along with the Jewish people.”
Gadot spoke in Hebrew for nearly half a minute of her three-and-a-half minute monologue. Saying that she has a special message to her Israeli family and friends, she looked into the camera and said in Hebrew with English subtitles, “Hi to everyone at home, I just want to say that… this could be a huge mistake. The writers don’t have any idea what’s happening in Israel, and in every sketch they have me eating hummus. I mean, I love hummus, but come on! They’re very nice, but not very sophisticated. They think I’m actually Wonder Woman. In short, wish me luck!”
The October 7 show received high ratings for NBC, with fans praising the first-time host. “Gadot has consistently made a kiddush Hashem (קידוש השם) with her ‘Wonder Woman’ public appearances,” continued Segal. “She always proudly states that she is from Israel and promotes a positive view of the country and its people.”
Kiddush Hashem is a Hebrew term meaning “sanctification of [the Name of] God”. The phrase is a frequently-used expression in Judaism based on the Biblical precept, “And ye shall not profane My holy name” (Leviticus 22:32).
A praiseworthy action publicly performed by a Jew that brings honor and respect to God is considered a kiddush Hashem, giving glory to God’s name. Through her stardom, Gadot’s public embracing of her heritage and Hebrew language has sent the message that Israel is a modern country which respects its ‘wonder women’. Through her many talk show appearances, Gadot has worked to change the face of an often politically negative image of the country.
When Gadot ended the show with the usual “thank yous” to the cast and crew, she made a special thank you to Israel-born Lorne Michaels, the longtime executive producer of SNL, who is Jewish, saying that he was responsible for getting her on the show.
“Lorne Michaels was born on a kibbutz in pre-state Palestine before he moved to Toronto as an infant,” noted Segal to Breaking Israel News. “With Gadot starring in ‘Justice League’, coming out November 17, and signing on for four more Wonder Woman movie sequels, we can only wish her yashar koach (יישר כח) – may it be with strength – on her successes.”
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