When J.K. Rowling announced her intent to roll out new Harry Potter-related stories on her Pottermore website for Christmas, it seemed a somewhat exclusionary gesture in terms of religion. But fear not, for yesterday, on the first night of Hanukkah, Rowling gave one of her famous postscript gifts, revealing on Twitter that a character in the Harry Potter universe is indeed Jewish. What a mitzvah! No matter that the character in question is the ancillary Anthony Goldstein, a Ravenclaw and member of Dumbledore’s Army who first appeared in the series’ fifth volume, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. The fact that Rowling even acknowledged that Potter’s world has Jewish wizards—and that they aren’t bankers at Gringotts—is alone worth celebrating. And besides, Rowling suggests there are others besides Goldstein; she just has “reasons for knowing most about him.”
Still, with Rowling one can usually anticipate that, after great things, her follow-up can be less than stellar. And so it was that, later the same day, Rowling acknowledged that the Harry Potter series has characters who ascribe to basically every belief system—with the lone exception of Wiccans.
Rowling’s explanation aside, considering that Hogwarts purports to be a school for witchcraft, among other things, this comes as a bit of a surprise. Still, Rowling’s conservative, anti-Wiccan viewpoint is possibly intended to stem the decade-long controversy about the books’ supposed use as Satanic indoctrination tools—which, this should definitely do it.