This is a Shana Tova card from 1955. The card bears the symbol of the Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL-JNF) and features Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh. On the top of the card is the verse from Isaiah 35:6, “For waters shall burst forth in the desert.” Underneath the verse is a photograph of a field being irrigated using a pipe irrigation system. To the right of the black and white photograph is a colourful drawing of a flower, some wheat, a pomegranate, grapes, a fig leaf, an orange, a ribbon with Stars of David, and the city of Jerusalem. Below the photograph is the caption “A Year of Peace, Building, and Creation.” The card leaves a space for the sender to sign the card, and it is dated Erev Rosh Hashanah 5716, Mashabei Sadeh.
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Mashabei Sadeh – Mashabei Sadeh is a kibbutz in the southern Negev. It was founded in 1947 on the eve of the War of Independence by a group of youth from the Palmach in order to help fortify the border with Egypt. In 1949, after the war was over, more members arrived and they re-established the kibbutz and called it Mashabim. After the death of the Palmach commander General Itzhak Sadeh in 1952, the kibbutz was renamed Mashabei Sadeh in his memory. Mashabei Sadeh is a secular, agricultural kibbutz, whose main sources of employment are tourism, poultry and fish farms, a factory, and field crops.
Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael/Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) – KKL-JNF was founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress for the purpose of raising money to purchase land in Israel, which would become the Jewish homeland. The well-known “blue boxes” were used by Jews all over the world to collect this money. The work of KKL-JNF can be divided into three phases. The first 50 years were dedicated to purchasing land. During the next 50 years KKL-JNF developed the land including planting over 220 million trees, building infrastructure such as roads and parks, and helping new immigrants to settle. In the current phase KKL-JNF is putting its emphasis on caring for the environment and solving the perennial problem of water scarcity.
Shana Tova Cards - The earliest instance of a written “shana tova” greeting is a fourteenth-century letter written by the Ashkenazi rabbi known as the Maharil (Jacob ben Moses Moelin). This letter affirms the existence of this custom in German Jewish communities at the time. In the eighteenth century, the custom began spreading beyond the German-speaking realm to other large concentrations of Jews in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. By the end of the century, Shana Tova cards began to take on distinct characteristics, such as special writing paper, with the custom spreading throughout the entire Ashkenazi world during the nineteenth century. The postal service emerged around this time, and in the 1880s, Jewish entrepreneurs began to print commercial greeting Shana Tova cards. By this time, Shana Tova cards constituted the main body of postcards sent by Jews, and this would remain so for around 100 years.
Between the end of the nineteenth century and the end of First World War, a time known as the “Golden Age of Postcards,” the vast majority of the mail sent by Jews in Europe and America consisted of Shana Tova cards. Today, in the digital era, cards sent by post have given way to text messages and emails.