sparrowsYears before BICP, I liked bird names in general, and had a vague idea of doing a comic where everyone was named after birds.

Sparrow here is the only survivor. Still a fan of bird names, but I kinda transferred the overall vibe into my comic where everyone is named after plants.

For in-universe history: Nana and Abba Applebaum are old-fashioned conservative Jewish. But not so conservative that they didn’t do a decent job of supporting Sharon, even when she ditched all their traditions and got mystical.

Sparrow: Hang on a second. Since when do you want me to have a “strong connection to my heritage”? It’s not like your ancestors have been pagan for hundreds of years. And you’ve always told me how Judaism was an oppressive patriarchal hegemony!

Mrs. Applebaum: Well, it is! And I sent you to Hebrew school, didn’t I?

Sparrow: For like two years! I don’t remember any of it!

Mrs. Applebaum: Which should leave you fitting right in with all the other non-practicing Jewish kids . . .

Sparrow: You named me Sparrow Elbereth. The only way that could have been more New Age-y is if the middle name had come first.

Mrs. Applebaum: Not at all! Sparrows are very significant in Jewish mysticism! At least, sort of significant. At least, I know they’re mentioned.

Souls are often described as bird-like, and the word tsippor is used both for birds in general and sparrows in particular. Your name in Hebrew would be something like Zipporah, the same as Moses’ wife.

The Rabbi Isaac Luria says that sparrows chirp because they can see the peaceful descent of the soul after death. I thought about another modernization of Tsippor, but decided Sparrow sounded best.

Sparrow: Wow. That’s a lot deeper than I thought it was . . . What did I almost get named?

Mrs. Applebaum: Twitter.

Sparrow: Ooh. Dodged a bullet there.