Each Year Anew: A Century of Shanah Tovah Cards

  • ephemera
  • social history
  • judaica
  • graphic design

Jews mailed Shanah Tovah cards to one other for over a century. The imagery on the cards represented the dramatic events of the period: waves of immigration from Eastern and Western Europe, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the wars that followed. The paths taken by the cards reflect the changing map of Jewish population distribution: Old-World European Jewry mailed greetings to relatives in America, and Land-of-Israel pioneers sent cards to those left behind. The digital and cellular revolutions put an end to the era of Shanah Tovah cards as illustrated postal items.  On display are common, typical images alongside exceptional greetings — sheets and posters whose images and messages departed from the accepted norm.