Dayenu Illustrated

As I contemplate making a Seder-Masochism Haggadah, I chose some stills to illustrate the Passover song “Dayenu”. Song does not reflect my own opinions, etc.

Out of Egypt

If He had brought us out from Egypt,

and not carried out judgements against them,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Pharaoh Moses Aharon Snake

If He had carried out judgements against them,

and not against their idols

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Moses Ishtar1

If He had destroyed their idols,

and not killed their first-born

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Death of Firstborn

If He had killed their first-born,

and had not given us their wealth

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Wealth

If He had given us their wealth,

and had not split the sea for us

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Split the Sea

If He had split the sea for us,

and had not taken us through it on dry land

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Dry Land 2

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land,

and had not drowned our oppressors in it

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Drown Oppressors1

If He had drowned our oppressors in it,

and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Needs in Desert

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years,

and had not fed us the manna

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Manna1

If He had fed us the manna,

and had not given us the Shabbat,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Shabbat1

If He had given us the Shabbat,

and had not led us before Mount Sinai

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Mount Sinai1

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai,

and had not given us the Torah

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Torah2

If He had given us the Torah,

and had not brought us into the land of Israel

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Drown Oppressors2

If He had brought us into the land of Israel,

and not built for us the Holy Temple

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Shabbat2

Share

This Land Is Mine is yours

Due to horrific recent events, This Land Is Mine has gone viral again.

Here’s a reminder that you don’t need permission to copy, share, broadcast, post, embed, subtitle, etc. Copying is an act of love, please copy and share. Yes means yes.

copying is an act of love, please copy and shareAs for the music, it is Fair UseThis Land Is Mine is a PARODY of “The Exodus Song.” That music was sort of the soundtrack of American zionism in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was supposed to express Jewish entitlement to Israel. By putting the song in the mouth of every warring party, I’m critiquing the original song.

 

Share

New Merch! “This Land Is Mine” Silk Pocket Square

pure silk This Land Is Mine 13" pocket square

A fine haberdasher asked me to design this fine 100% silk 13″ x 13″ pocket square with designs from This Land Is Mine. They are very fancy! $45-a-piece fancy, which is what fine haberdasherous silk pocket squares go for. Buy yours here.

This Land Is Mine pocket square shown to scale

Product Description

“This Land Is Mine” pocket square: millennia of violent territorial disputes distilled into a charming, non-violent, 100% silk 13″x13″ pocket square. Square made in France; history made in the Levant. (Alternate video link at vimeo. Note: pocket square does not play video.)

 

Share

By Popular Demand: Hi-Res This Land Is Mine characters

Assyrian
Assyrian, Babylonian, or Persian? YOU decide!

I just uploaded super-high-res versions of the This Land Is Mine Viewer’s Guide illustrations to archive.org. As so many of you pointed out, I didn’t explicitly name Persians in the guide. But the Assyrians and Babylonians I made up are based on Assyrian, Babylonian, AND Persian art! Did you know it’s all from the same region? Did you know This Land Is Mine is a cartoon? Did you know the pictures in the cartoon are more important than the labels on a blog post? Did you know none of the characters is an accurate historical representation, because (again) it’s a cartoon? Well now you do! As always, my work is Free-as-in-Freedom so you can use these images for whatever you want, except imposing artificial monopolies. Print ’em! Share ’em! Re-label ’em! Use ’em in your Ph.D. thesis, but don’t blame me if their accuracy is called into question! Download the whole set (as well as the whole short movie) at archive.org.

Share

Jews, Zionists, Israelis

European Jew/Zionist
Oy! Nothing but trouble.

The “European Jew/Zionist” label has has drawn the most criticism in This Land Is Mine. Apparently to Israelis (correct me if I’m wrong – this is what I’m learning from the many comments on the movie, and emails) “Zionist” means “historical Zionist” – the mostly-secular, mostly-socialist, hardworking kibbutz-founding idealists who settled mostly-peacefully in Palestine prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. According to one correspondent,

the founders of Israel in general were not religious Jews but on the contrary – secular and even anti-religious…The mainstream of ultra-orthodoxy sees Zionism as blasphemy… As for the image – in Israeli culture we have a caricature called “Srulik” (which is a nickname for the name “Israel”) that depicts the stereotypical 1940’s “new Israeli Jew” with the hat and the sandals

"Srulik"

Some viewers seem to think my illustration is a Chasid. It’s not; it’s supposed to be an Orthodox-ish Jew. Orthodox Jews apparently don’t have to join the Israeli army (WTH not?!) so this depiction further bothers some people. Orthodox Jews, they point out, are not Zionists.

Here I must clarify that “Zionist” means something slightly different to me, as an American Jew. Wikipedia sums it up:

Zionism (Hebrew: ציונות‎, Tsiyonut) is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation state in territory defined as the Land of Israel.[1] Zionism supports Jews upholding their Jewish identity and opposes the assimilation of Jews into other societies and has advocated the return of Jews to Israel as a means for Jews to be liberated from anti-Semitic discrimination, exclusion, and persecution that has occurred in other societies.[1] Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish stateand address threats to its continued existence and security.

I labelled my Orthodox-ish Jew “Zionist” to distinguish him from Jews who aren’t Zionist – like me. When I was growing up, well-meaning relatives and acquaintances would keep asking me when I was going to Israel. “Why should I go to Israel?” I’d ask. Stricken, they would explain how important Israel should be to me. “Everyone needs a homeland!” they’d insist. But I already had a honemland – Urbana, IL. I felt no need for another one, and was troubled that I should create in myself such a need where one didn’t exist. I had enough insecurities already.

Many people use “Jew” and “Zionist” interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. I am a Jew because I’m descended from a long line of Jews, and because even as atheists my family retained some Jewish cultural quirks. But I am not a Zionist. I don’t need a “homeland” in Israel, and I don’t care if my “Jewish identity” is upheld and assimilation resisted; in fact assimilation is part of my “Jewish identity,” something I’m proud of (as much as I can be legitimately proud of anything other people did before I was born).

I realize as I write this that I represent the religious conservative’s worst nightmare. Like most religions, Judaism requires indoctrination at an early age; Orthodox and Chasids encourage breeding as many offspring as possible, to enlarge the tribe. Assimilation is anathema to religious Jews, because it leads to people like me. I’m supposed to be supporting the Tribe, and instead I’d rather make graven images and spout individualism. I’ve even refused to breed altogether, let alone indoctrinate any spawn.

 

I hope my Great-Zaydie Zalman wouldn't be too disappointed in me.

Anyway, my Orthodox-ish Jew character, if he’s in Israel, is what I’d call a Zionist, although most Israelis would not. That said, I could have left the confusing Zionist label off of him, because he obviously was in Israel in my cartoon.

The “European” part of the label refers to the pressure a vast influx of Jewish refugees from Europe put on Palestine. Yes, there were Zionists there already, living peacefully alongside Arabs and others in the region. And yes, the State of Israel welcomes (or is supposed to welcome) all Jews, not just European ones. But the post-war influx of European Jews really changed things in the region. Would the State of Israel have been established had that not occurred? Would the US have backed it otherwise?

Jews, largely Holocaust survivors, in search of a homeland, aboard the SS Exodus

Why did I draw my character Orthodox-ish at all, when most Zionists and Jews and Israelis don’t look like that? To show the religious side of a “Jewish nation-state” (remember it’s the Jewish nation-state idea that defines Zionists here in the U.S.) And to refer to what I consider the most problematic element in Israel and elsewhere: religious nuts. My character doesn’t look too different from these folks hanging out at the Wailing Wall:

Sayeth Wikipedia:

With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.

Then of course you have “The Settlers“:

I chose the more Orthodox garb because to me it more than anything said, “religion.” But critics do have a point when they say the Orthodox Jews in Israel get others to do their shooting for them.

There are Jews who are not Zionists. There are Zionists who are not Jews. Most Jews are not Israelis; most Israelis are Jews. Many Jews are not religious; many Israelis are not religious. There are deeply religious people who aren’t violent. There are violent people who aren’t deeply religious.

But when you combine religion, cultural identity, and statehood, you get a bigger mess than any of those things alone. My Orthox-ish dude is contemporary to his State counterpart:

State of Israel

(Thanks to another group of comments, I now know he’s holding the wrong kind of gun, and he’s holding it wrong. That I can live with.)

Share