“The Adventures of Hofni the Dreamer,” Eden Newspaper, 1925
This is the 1925 edition of the cartoon strip “The Adventures of Hofni the Dreamer” that appeared in in the Hebrew language children’s newspaper Eden. Eden was published in New York between 1924 and 1926. “The Adventures of Hofni the Dreamer” was written and illustrated by S. Ruskin.
In this comic, Hofni, frustrated that he is unable to build a Sukkah in New York, dreams of celebrating the festival in Israel — the land of the pioneers. While the classroom and the city of New York are depicted as grey and gloomy, Israel is portrayed as a sunny and welcoming place. The aerial image of Israel shows a vast, almost uninhabited land with a few Middle-Eastern style buildings. The muscular pioneers are shown smiling in front of their tents, which are a modern interpretation of the Sukkot in which the Jews dwelt in the desert.
This comic strip could be used in a variety of contexts.
Hebrew teachers could use it in lessons preceding Sukkot.
Jewish Studies teachers could use the translated cartoon as a trigger to talk about Sukkot and its origins in the Torah.
Jewish History and Israel Studies teachers could use it when discussing different Diaspora perspectives on pre-state Israel. The current relationship between Israel and the Diaspora could also be discussed.
When and where was this cartoon published?
Who is the main character of the cartoon?
What is the story of the cartoon?
Reading Between the Lines
Describe Hofni’s daily life in New York.
How does Hofni imagine the Land of Israel?
What message does the illustrator of the comic want to send to children reading the cartoon?
Did Israel of 1925 look as Hofni imagined it? Use photograph collections from the National Library, other sources from the internet or other reference sources to find information
This comic shows the relationship between Diaspora Jews and Jews in Israel.
Do you think the relationship has changed over the years? If so, how and why?
What were your earliest thoughts about Israel (people, places, etc.)?
Have you ever been to Israel?
If so, how did your earliest thoughts about Israel compare to reality.
How were they similar or different?
Create a travel brochure or a poster which advertises Israel to tourists.
Which aspects will you emphasize and why?
This comic strip is about a dream that a boy in the diaspora had about Israel.
Draw a comic strip about a funny dream you or an imaginary person had about Israel.
The teacher teaches about the festival of Sukkot
Hofni sits in the classroom, listening to his teacher.
“For I made the children of Israel live in Sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt.”
Hofni daydreams about the Jews living in tents in the desert.
Hofni sits and gets upset: “There are no Sukkot in New York.”
Hofni looks at the skyscrapers of New York
But look, there’s a plane flying high in the sky
Hofni sees a plane flying above him.
Hofni flies on the wings of his imagination to the pioneers of the Land of Israel.
Hofni imagines the plane is taking him to Israel
“My brothers, I have come to sit with you in Sukkot.”
Hofni imagines that he meets the pioneers, and joins them in their tents to celebrate Sukkot.