I designed some Hebrews for Seder-Masochism. Doing all 12 tribes was too daunting, but I’m calling the additions to Moses and Aharon Fatiman, Menorah, and Asher* respectively.

There aren’t a lot of representational images in Jewish art – not compared to rich delicious pagan religious art traditions like Hinduism and Catholicism – but there are a lot of visual symbols, which hopefully people will recognize. (The Hand of Fatimah isn’t Jewish per se, but it is popular in the region that includes Israel.)

I also made a little “before and after” illustrating what happened to the Levites in Exodus (hint: the Levites wrote Exodus):

*The Tribe of Asher is usually symbolized by a tree. I further simplified by using a leaf. Lately I’ve been reading Merlin Stone’s When God Was a Woman, which I’m enjoying very much despite its archeology being out of date. Asherah was a popular Goddess in Canaan during the Hebrew reign, and she was often symbolized by a tree. So when I was doing some research on the 12 Tribes, I was a little stunned to see one called Asher, with a tree symbol. Maybe these were some of the Israelites who pissed off Yahweh by worshipping idols – that would be cool, but we’ll never know, since they’re Lost.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

7 thoughts on “Hebrews”

  1. Great work as always!!!!!
    As a matter of fact the 10 tribes of Israel didn’t really totally lost. The Assyrians deported in 721 BC only their nobility and worriers and the rest stayed at their land occupied later by Assyrians and Greeks and later by the kingdom of Judea. We see them latter dwelling in the Galilee and Golan mountains. The main Israelite kingdom in the second half of the 1st millennial BC (400 BC – 70 DC) was Judea. Judea kingdom of the second temple era included also the Benjamin and Shimon tribes. To those gathered refugees of the Northern “10 tribes” that joined the Judeans (as I said some stayed in the Galilee and Golan areas) immediately after the Assyrian occupation.
    You are right about the Ashera, it’s the feminine gender of Asher. Asher tribe was sited in Northern Part of today Israel and Southern part of Lebanon, and they had close commercial ties with the Sidonites, the Phoenicians of Sidon (“As for Asher, his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.” – Genesis 49, 20) . The Sidonites had the Ashera idol that was one of the Ugarit goddess (Ugarit – the now days beaches of Syria, near Tartus and Ladakia). It’s might be that its name was given to that tribe because of worshiped the same goddess as most of the Israelite tribe did in their earlier time, at the time of the judges and the beginning of the first temple era, as written in the Bible.
    It might be that the origin of the name of the goddess Ashera came from the name of Ashur (Fagus) tree that is well exists all around Northern Israel and Lebanon, and it is symbolizes the worship of Ashera. Also the Assyrians related to that name which in Hebrew it is called Ashurim (in plural) and the land of Ashur (in singular), the land that lays from now days middle of Syria (the same root) and to Norther now days Iraq (Nineveh , Mosul cities).
    The name Ashur based on the Hebrew / Phoenician root A. Sh. R. which means in Hebrew ‘Osher’ aka Happiness, good fortune.

  2. Hi Nina, I am creating a new campaign about Israel and I came across these pictures you made.. I think they are great! I would like to ask you, are we able to use these designs you made? Let me know! Thanks

  3. I do love a good pun, and it doesn’t get much better than ‘Sader Masochism’! XD

    Love these designs, great work.

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