A Welcome Visitor
There is definitely life after 70, as cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen is increasingly discovering. Ever since his milestone three-score-and-10 birthday, Kirschen, 73, the creator of the long-running, internationally syndicated Dry Bones cartoon, which initially appeared in The Jerusalem Post, has been in great demand on the American lecture circuit. During his current lecture tour, Kirschen took time out to travel to North Carolina to visit Jonathan Pollard, who has been incarcerated for 26 years for passing classified information to Israel. All efforts to secure his release have so far hit a brick wall, though according to Kirschen, “rumor has it that Dennis Ross is advising President [Barack] Obama to hold Jonathan as some kind of ‘bargaining chip’ to pressure Israel. I hope that that is just a scurrilous anti-Obama libel. The list of those calling for an end to Jonathan’s incarceration grows longer and longer. But I don’t see Dennis Ross’s name on it.” Kirschen said he was “surprised to find Jonathan bright, intelligent, and far less bitter than I would have been had I been in his situation.” He also noted that the crime for which Pollard was convicted usually carries a two-to-three-year prison sentence. Kirschen’s visit to Pollard was facilitated by Rabbi Pessach Lerner of the National Council of Young Israel.
Anyone who knows Yaakov knows what a mensch he is (for instance, he created all the logos and badges for the Pro-Israel Blog-Off free of charge, and also agreed to be on the judging panel). So this doesn’t surprise me.