Shana Tova, Israel, 1958
This is a Shana Tova card printed in Israel in 1958. At the centre of the card is an ostensibly typical Israeli family: a mother, father and three boys. This may have been a personalized Shana Tova card, or this family may have been chosen as the model of an Israeli family.
Around the photograph there are different motifs of the New Year. On the top of the card are the words "שנה טובה" – "Happy New Year." The year (תשי"ט (1958-9 appears on a ribbon carried by a bird and below it is a horseshoe, a popular (non-Jewish) lucky charm.
Beneath the family is a drawing of a Torah scroll and to the side an elaborate depiction of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt.
In the days leading up to the Jewish New Year, Jewish Studies teachers could provide a collection of Shana Tova cards to their students to prompt a discussion about their wishes for the New Year. This is an example of a card printed in Israel, ten years after the state was established. A discussion could arise around the design and the prominence of the Exodus on the card, possibly as a mirror of the aliya, the mass immigration to Israel, during the early years of the State? Jewish History teachers could use this item in lessons about these early years. Art teachers could use this, together with other cards from the NLI collection, for a lesson in which students create their own Shana Tova cards.
What is this card? What is its purpose?
The bird at the top is holding a ribbon with the letters תשי"ט. What do they signify?
The card was printed in Israel in 1959. Using reference books or the internet, what can you find out about life in Israel at this time?
Who were the prime minister and the president?
What military events happened in the years before?
How many people lived in Israel at that time?
How many new immigrants (olim) came to Israel in those times?
Why do you think there is a photograph of a family on the card?
Why do you think the artist drew a picture of a Torah scroll on the card?
Why is there a large picture of the Exodus from Egypt? Is there a connection between the Exodus and this Shana Tova card? If so, what is the connection?
Design a card of your own that includes a photograph of your family. What other graphic and textual elements will you add and why?