W e see her handiwork every week in the pages of Jr.: a comic in four frames, with a telling story about Bubby Zelda and Zeidy Zundel, Lemech, or Klonimus, or twins Nitza and Ditza. Each week there’s a cute story or anecdote that could have happened in our own homes. Shifra Glick, who writes and illustrates the Shikufitzky comic each week, has been at for nearly 20 years, and she’s not planning to stop any time soon.

How did she hit upon this genre? “I read books of humorous cartoon strips, and thought I’d try my hand at it,” explains Shifra. She’d enjoyed illustrating since she was a child, but says, “I’m not really very good at drawing, not on a truly professional level. For example, I’m not good ‎at perspective. But I love drawing, so I found a way to draw for a living — my kind of drawing.”

Shifra, who was born in the US but moved to Eretz Yisrael as a young child, is fluent in both English ‏and Hebrew, and her comics appear in both the English and Hebrew versions of Jr. ‏They actually appeared first in Hebrew, and then she began translating them for the English magazine ‏when it was launched. (Why not? She was writing them each week anyway!) She does her own ‏translating, and the same comic appears in both magazines each week, which means that the same ‏funny bone has to be tickled for two very different readerships!‏

Did you ever wonder how Shifra came up with the name ‏Shikufitzky? It’s not just a ‎funny mix of sounds, Shifra clarifies. “It derives from a Hebrew root meaning ‘to reflect.’ I chose it ‎because the comic strips reflect the funny points of our everyday behavior and human weaknesses.”‎

As for Klonimus, Lemech, Yiska, and Temima, Shifra chose uncommon names so the characters would be more unique and memorable. When she switched from the Shikufitzky family to Shikufitzky Street, she was able to introduce new characters to the strip without parting from the old well-loved ones.

The main question, though, is how does she come up with her ideas each week? “It’s not easy,” Shifra admits. “I look for ideas everywhere, jot them down, and consult my list when it’s time for a new strip.”

Is it hard to confine herself to four frames each week? It depends on the story, Shifra says. “Sometimes I continue a story for longer than a week, or break the space up into six or eight smaller frames.”

What happens when she gets stuck for ideas? “I use an idea that I thought was too silly… and sometimes the kids like them best!”

Shifra has taken drawing and illustrating courses and is also partly self-taught. The most enjoyable part of the job for her is drawing exaggerated expressions and body language. The most tedious part of the job? Cleaning the scanned picture on the computer so she can send it in to the magazine. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 676)