The Dry Bones Bio
Yaakov Kirschen was born in the United States on March 8, 1938 to an American Jewish family. in accordance with American Jewish tradition, he was given two names; an American” name (Gerald) and a “Jewish” name (Yaakov). He lived in New York City until the age of 32 as Jerry Kirschen, when, in October 1971 he moved to Israel and legally changed his given name from Gerald to Yaakov.
In New York, as Jerry Kirschen, he was a gag cartoonist selling funny cartoons to major magazines, created funny greeting cards, and designed special projects. During the turbulent sixties, he began to use his gag cartoon experience to draw “funny” political cartoons; at first for main stream political organizations and then “Zionist Cartoons” for Jewish causes; Jewish student newspapers, Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, etc.
In 1971 Jerry Kirschen moved to Israel, where he became Yaakov Kirschen. In 1973 Yaakov Kirschen began drawing a political comic strip called “Dry Bones” (a reference to the prophecies of the prophet Ezekiel, which seemed to predict the realities of the reborn Jewish State to which Kirschen had “returned”) Yaakov continued to create the daily Dry Bones cartoon, without break since its first day of publication in the Jerusalem Post (January 1, 1973).to the present.
Dry Bones has been reprinted or quoted by Forbes,. the New York Times , the London Sunday Times ,the Wall Street Journal , the Guardian ,Time Magazine , the LA Times, The Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle , CBS, CNN and other major media entities.
In 1993 Kirschen wrote a graphic novel, ‘Trees - the Green Testament’, (www.Treesthegreentestament.com ) The Wall Street Journal, in a front page piece, lauded the book as a major and relevant work
In 2009, Yaakov Kirschen was made a “visiting fellow” and “artist in residence” of Yale University’s Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA). In 2010, Yale published Kirschen’s ground-breaking working paper entitled “Memetics and the Viral Spread of Antisemitism through “Coded Images in Political Cartoons”.
Kirschen is a long-time member of both the (American) NCS (National Cartoonists Society) and the (Israeli) AKI (Association of Israeli Cartoonists)
After winning a number of awards* and with a lifetime of cartoon experience under his belt, Kirschen saw the need for a proper school of journalism to teach the history, principles, strategies, tactics, and techniques of political cartooning; The online Academy of Cartoon Advocacy and Activism. (www.drybonesacademy.com)
2011 Golden Pencil Award The Israel Museum of Cartoons and Cartoonists’
2013 The Arad Medallion Israel Cartoonists’ Convention
2014 Bonei Zion (Builder of Zion) Award for contribution to the State of Israel