President Donald Trump’s recent mispronunciation of Yosemite – in which he referred to the national park as “Yo-semites” – is causing some merriment on social media. And one of the biggest revelations is that a beloved cartoon character bearing the park’s name may actually be a Semite.
The Atlantic editor Yoni Applebaum started the fun when he tweeted out that Trump’s pronunciation was “Me, greeting a crowded room at my synagogue.”
But he then contended to his audience that Warner Bros. cartoon character Yosemite Sam is Jewish.
“It being a strange world, Yosemite Sam is actually Jewish,’ Applebaum tweeted. “He bore more than a passing resemblance to his creator, Isadore Freleng, and his full name is given in one episode as Samuel Rosenbaum.”
The pint-sized Yosemite Sam first appeared in a Looney Tunes cartoon in 1945, and quickly won fans over with his volcanic temper and relentless pursuit of that rascally rabbit, Bugs Bunny.
Applebaum added in his tweet: “But until today, it never occurred to me to pronounce his first name like that.”
Yosemite Sam’s full name was unveiled in a Looney Tunes cartoon that aired in 2013, the first time it had been mentioned since being created by Jewish animator ‘Friz’ Freleng, who claimed he modeled the character after himself.
Freleng’s daughter, Hope Freleng Shaw, confirmed that Freleng and Yosemite Sam bore a resemblance.
She told MEL magazine, “Everybody else thought that Yosemite Sam was absolutely my father. He had red hair when he was a kid. And he was very tiny — only 5-foot-4.”
While Shaw wouldn’t positively confirm whether her dad intended for Yosemite Sam to be Jewish, she noted that she “used to tell my friends, ‘All these characters that my father created are Jewish. Because we’re Jewish!” ‘