Just a few years ago, Joshua Dryzun was living in abandoned houses and scavenging for food from supermarket bins. Now living in Jewish Care, he has received support and patience as he’s worked through mental health issues, while chasing his dream of becoming an artist.
Now, Dryzun is excited to release his first illustrated Jewish children’s book titled The Happy Tzadikim, featuring 13 Jewish animals that embody Jewish values and teachings. With vibrant illustrations and engaging storytelling, Dryzun hopes to inspire young readers and instil in them a love for Judaism and its teachings.
“My book draws inspiration from my love for Torah learning, Jewish philosophy and my journey towards becoming a better person,” Dryzun reflected.
“I have always found the path to becoming a better person to be the most challenging endeavour, and it is my attempt to do kindness that fuels my artwork.”
Growing up with beloved characters from Disney and Looney Tunes, Dryzun gravitated towards animals as the embodiment of the Jewish values explored in the story. He hopes that offering these insights and lessons through a relatable concept such as animals can bridge the gap between children and their connection to Torah, heritage and birthright.
“Animals hold a special place in pop culture, often representing a symbol of equality among all races. This resonates with me deeply, as I believe in the importance of equality and inclusivity,” Dryzun said.
“I found that certain animal characters which I had sketched naturally embodied specific values, allowing for a diverse range of lessons to be conveyed through their personalities.”
In addition to his book, Dryzun is also developing an animated series that explores the esoteric side of Torah. Inspired by the global success of 2D Japanese animated television shows, there’s scope for a similar effect on the global perception of the observant Jewish community. He believes that by sharing these concepts through animation, he can reach a wider audience and transform their perception of Jewish culture.
“This project aims to plant the seeds of Torah concepts in an engaging and accessible manner. I firmly believe that this approach can greatly impact the future of the Jewish community, fostering understanding and combating antisemitism and false narratives.”