How to make New Year greeting Cards?
My sister, Mindy Schiller, standing in the midst of my family's sukkah structure, prior to its final dismantlement, post-Sukkot. Surrounding her are the laminated Jewish New Year greeting cards mentioned above. (Courtesy of Dr. Harvey Schiller, mid-October 1987.)
The Yiddish caption on this imaginative and animated Jewish New Year greeting card reads: “Children! You are seeing the star of the New Year. So too, your good fortune will also shine bright and clear.” (Courtesy of accessed 9-25-16.)Although most of the cards I saw over the years growing up in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s were in English and Hebrew, here and there we would also receive cards bearing Yiddish greetings. Mainly, I would see the handwritten messages scrawled upon the greeting cards my grandmother and great aunt received respectively from their cousins Yedis and Diana in Israel, and Rebeka in Brazil. Since they had all come from Warsaw, but subsequently lived in different countries and were not all equally well-versed in Polish, English, Hebrew, or in Portuguese, for that matter, Yiddish was their main written lingua franca.
I always marveled at how these women had steadily managed to retain their ties to one another, even though they had not seen each other for so many years, and were divided both by time and space. Furthermore, I was impressed that Yiddish served as their common conduit of communication – even though they probably used it little in its written form in the years following their respective transmigrations from Europe, both before and after World War II. Those cards, in particular, were a sort of keyhole for me into another world – or, at least, into the remnants of that other world – and I could appreciate just how precious they were.
These are some of my personal associations with Rosh Hashanah greeting cards and the autumn Jewish High Holiday season (that is now upon us) going back to my childhood. But more recently, I began to wonder about the actual history surrounding these cards – when did they originate and where, and how have they changed and developed over time? Now that I have read up somewhat on the subject, please allow me to share a few of my findings with you in my most current blog. Also, given that my blogs pertain to my forays into Yiddish, I have included a montage of Rosh Hashanah greeting cards here that highlights the use of Yiddish – in addition to some of the other languages more widely used for this purpose today – namely, English and Hebrew.