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Judaism was complex for Isaac Asimov, whose ‘Foundation’ series is now a TV show

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JTA — Apple TV is, following a pandemic delay, finally debuting “Foundation,” the first-ever screen adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s bestselling, award-winning science-fiction book series. First announced in 2018 and produced in association with Skydance Television, the TV show is one of the Apple streaming service’s most expensive and ambitious productions to date.

The series, which follows a mathematician struggling to convince a galactic federation that their society is on the brink of collapse, blends anxieties of the 1940s and ’50s, when the source material was originally written, with modern global concerns like climate change.

It was co-created by Josh Friedman and David S. Goyer. Friedman identifies as Jewish, while showrunner Goyer, son of a Jewish mother, wrote and directed the dybbuk-themed 2009 horror movie “The Unborn.”

But what of Asimov himself, a biochemist at Boston University and one of the most influential sci-fi writers of all time? That’s a much more complicated question.

Isaac Asimov was born in Russia in 1920, and his family emigrated to the United States when he was three years old. He had Jewish parents who were themselves raised Orthodox, and they raised him in Brooklyn. However, Asimov gravitated to more humanist beliefs from an early age, and as an adult identified vocally with atheism until his death in 1992.

On the one hand, Asimov became one of pop culture’s most prominent atheists; and on the other, he was open and proud of his Jewish heritage.

The author addressed his beliefs and background in his posthumous 1994 memoir, “I, Asimov,” stating that his father, “for all his education as an Orthodox Jew, was not Orthodox in........

© The Times of Israel

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