By Maggie Radd, Director of Registration and Exhibitions
Observing and celebrating holidays throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has not gotten easier or more commonplace, despite how many holidays have passed since March. Passover, Easter, Shavuot, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Tish’a B’Av, and Labor Day have each been observed during these difficult times.
While each passing holiday brings with it a desire to be with those we love, following traditions and rituals – perhaps none more so than Rosh Hashanah traditionally spent with family in Synagogue. We must celebrate the joy of the New Year in unique and resilient ways.
The story of the shofar blown in Auschwitz on Rosh Hashanah 1944 (on view now at the Museum) is an enduring symbol of resilience and faith. Defying imminent threat and serious repercussions, prisoners worked together to ensure a brief respite during the High Holy Holidays for prayer.
Facing the challenges of a pandemic, we may feel isolated as we must alter our traditions. Still we look to the resilience of those enduring far more difficult challenges for inspiration.
Read more about unique ways to observe the High Holy Holidays and about how the Museum and the family of Chaskel Tydor Z”L collaborated with NYC’s Central Synagogue to allow so many the mitzvah of hearing the shofar blown in Auschwitz during their Rosh Hashanah services.
The Board and the staff of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust wish you and your families l’shana tovah u’metukah and tizku l’shaneem rabot!
In honor of the holiday, please enjoy a selection of Rosh Hashanah cards from the Museum’s Collection.
Child's new year card, 5701, made by Gerd Lindenstraus at the Kadouri School in Shanghai.
Gerd Lindenstraus left Germany for Shanghai in July 1939 with his father and stepmother. He remained in Shanghai until March 1947, when he joined his mother in Colombia. Gift of Gerald Lindenstraus
Commercially printed colored postcard with "Best Wishes for a Happy New Year" in Polish and "You should be written for a good year" in Hebrew. Given to the donor by a classmate, Abe Monat. Gift of Miriam Stein.
Ethel Schachter Abramovitch (1912-1971) was a lifelong, active member of Hadassah in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She belonged to the "Ivriah" chapter, a Hebrew-speaking chapter. Ethel spent a good part of her life raising funds for Zionist causes. Ethel married Harry Abramovitch in 1944. Ethel, deceased, and Harry, still living, are the donor's parents. Essie Waterman worked for Hadassah WIZO in Montreal and NYC. She was also a speechwriter Adlai Stevenson. Essie and Ethel were close friends. Gift of Lavy, Ilana, and Henry Abramovitch
Photo card with reproduction of drawing of Tower of David, Hebrew text at top right, "Happy New Year," shield shape with Star of David and Hebrew text above, "For the Jewish Soldier." Below text, photograph of left to right: Sarah, Gideon and Meir (Meyer) Langman. Hebrew text below photo: "Eretz Israel, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5706 (1945). Handwritten Yiddish on reverse: "Jerusalem, 19/9/45, We send you a wish for the New Year from the family, Meir, Sarah, Gideon Langman." This card was sent to Moishe Wasserman, Sarah's father in Poland; the card was returned. Sarah's parents were probably deported and perished. Sarah and Meir, Zionists, went to Palestine ca. 1933-4, and to the United States in 1961. Gideon, their son, came to the United States in 1963 after Israeli Army service. Gift of Gideon Langman.
Rosh Hashanah Card Made by Gisela Stern for Her Parents. In Hebrew and German, dated 1 Tischri 5704, equivalent to September 30, 1943. Gisela said that she made the card with yarn so her blind father could feel it with his fingers. Her stepmother, who was sighted, could read the greeting. The greeting is on the back of a postcard pre-printed in German with a return address box stamped on, with space for the senders name, transport number, room number, and Theresienstadt as the address. Gift of Gisela Stern Simon.
Rosh Hashanah card from the Palmach, 1948. Sent in and envelope addressed to Jona Lerman, Rehov mikveh yizrael 21. Printed text of one sided card in Hebrew, translates: Blessing of victory and blossoming. Handwritten in green ink: Shana tova umutzlachat. Printed: Chativat hanegev (negev brigade) general staff. Gift of Jona Lerman.