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A Dry Look at Passover

Posted By Rachel Neiman On March 23, 2014 @ 6:29 pm In Nostalgia Israel | No Comments

Passover is a celebration of Jewish peoplehood and in any ‘hood where there are Jewish people, there is Jewish humor about — what else? — Jewish peoplehood.

Cartoonist Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen claims that with Jewish peoplehood came the first Jewish joke, in Exodus 14:11, when the Children of Israel turned to Moses and said, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?”.

The lack of Egyptian fleshpots — or proper New York deli food in 1973 Israel, which was the year that then-new immigrant Kirschen launched Dry Bones in the Jerusalem Post — led him to envision this “We’re dying here in the desert” exchange:

For 40 years, the Children of Israel wandered through the desert and for 40 years, Dry Bones has been poking fun, gentle and not so much, at the State of Israel and the general state of things Israeli, with topics ranging from out-of-control hyperinflation in the early ’80s…

To affordable housing…

To a parliamentary system that hasn’t been able to sustain a full term in decades.

The Passover seder, as a Jewish family affair, naturally lends itself to the Dry Bones brand of humor…

And the Seder affords him the opportunity to combine ancient tradition with modern-day woes…

Kirschen last year ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of a Dry Bones Haggadah, which is now on sale. He is careful to point out that the text is that of a complete, traditional Haggadah which is aimed — like so much of the Passover ceremony — at charming those who cannot ask, engaging those who wish to learn, engrossing those who already have knowledge and possibly even keeping the contrarians amused with pages framed with Dry Bones cartoon commentary.

Visit the Dry Bones online store for more information about the Dry Bones Haggadah.


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