Yaakov Kirschen drew his first Dry Bones cartoon for The Jerusalem Post’s January 1, 1973, edition, and he never stopped. For 50 years, Dry Bones cartoons have been a beloved part of the Anglo Jewish world. Many children of English-speaking olim (immigrants to Israel) grew up in homes with faded Dry Bones cartoons that their parents had taped to the wall. Dry Bones cartoons have been mailed, shared, quoted, and forwarded between English-speaking Israelis, Christian Zionists, and our far-flung and embattled Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
Kirschen has made the lives of Anglo olim easier and more meaningful, and to his fans all over the world he has spread a deeper and stronger feeling for Israel and Zionism.
The Dry Bones cartoonist, who has been called a “national treasure of the Jewish people,” has received many awards, such as the Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Award and The Golden Pencil Award.
Where does the name Dry Bones come from?
“I named it Dry Bones, thinking that everyone would immediately connect the name with the ‘dry bones’ that will rise again, from the Book of Ezekiel. But the question that I get asked most often is ‘Where does the name ‘Dry Bones’ come from?’ So what I thought would be most obvious was not obvious at all.”Yaakov Krischen
Kirschen says, “I had been a computer expert and a cartoonist for Playboy Magazine before making aliyah from New York in 1971. In December of 1972, I approached Ted Lurie, then the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, with a proposal to do a daily cartoon in the Post. Ted accepted my idea, and I started the Dry Bones cartoons. I wanted to start that week, but Ted said to me, ‘No, wait until January 1 because then, if the cartoon becomes successful and runs for a few years, you will always be able to easily remember the day that it started.’ And that turned out to be true. The cartoon started on January 1, 1973. I named it Dry Bones, thinking that everyone would immediately connect the name with the ‘dry bones’ that will rise again, from the Book of Ezekiel. But the question that I get asked most often is ‘Where does the name ‘Dry Bones’ come from?’ So what I thought would be most obvious was not obvious at all.”
The cartoon ran as a full page in The Jerusalem Report in its early days in the 1990s. Kirschen, who will be 85 in March, writes and draws a cartoon online almost daily in his blog postings at www.DryBonesBlog.com, and posts it on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. It appears weekly in several American Jewish papers. His many cartoon books can be purchased on Amazon at: https://bit.ly/drybonesbooks/