Elena of Avalor — the only fictional figure on People en Español’s 2016 “25 Mujeres Más Poderosas” list — is giving us a look into a different facet of Latinidad. Award-winning series Elena of Avalor will focus on Jewish Latino culture in its upcoming holiday episode.
Titled “Festival of Lights,” the episode will look at Hanukkah through the eyes of Elena, who welcomes to her kingdom the shipwrecked Princess Rebeca and her grandmother, Miriam. The two hail from Galonia, a Jewish Latino-inspired kingdom. In their time together, Elena will learn about the eight nights of Hanukkah and their significance to the Jewish community.
Rebeca will be voiced by Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who is a Jewish Latina, and Miriam will be voiced by Tovah Feldshun (Star Wars Resistance and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).
Since the beginning, Elena of Avalor has blended education with entertainment. And this new episode is no different. It’s especially important since holiday content tends to skew toward Christmas. On top of that, it helps to paint a broader picture of our communities. While we mostly think of Latinos and Latin Americans as Catholic, Jewish Latinos and Latin Americans exist.
“It has always been important to us on Elena of Avalor to showcase the diversity of Latin and Hispanic cultures,” said Craig Gerber, the creator and executive producer of the series. “As we were coming up with ideas for the new holiday episode, we decided to focus on Hanukkah and a part of the culture that we hadn’t yet represented on the show.
Surely, many Latinos will feel seen with “Festival of Lights.”
Elena of Avalor’s “Festival of Lights” airs on Disney Channel and the DisneyNow app on December 6 at 12:30 p.m.