Shana Tova 5780

leʃaˈna toˈva
meɪ juː hæv ə swiːt ænd ˈhæpi njuː jɪə

Rosh Hashanah greetings
to Five Minutes for Israel readers
who celebrate it

Can anyone imagine a sexy Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) card?

Neither could I, until I read that someone’s card was removed by Facebook as not meeting their community standards because unacceptably sexy! Apologies as I couldn’t remember who wrote it and can’t link to the offending article for you to decide for yourselves.

So we will have to settle for the next best thing. This card from the Israel Museum’s collection dates back to the 1940s. It harks back to a more optimistic time in Israel, of establishing agriculture and industry, in what was hoped to be a new state.

Women as individuals are few and far between in Rosh Hashanah cards. The usual choice are iconic shofars, apples, honey and pomegranates (רימונים).

The last was puzzling for me in Australia because I had never seen one.

A Pommy was an English immigrant, even if two of the many explanations do deal with the fruit. They were supposedly as red as pomegranates from the far stronger sunlight in the colonies or a shortening of pomegranate, rhyming slang for ‘immigrant’.

People, when they appear on cards are overwhelmingly men. The rare females, when shown are generally part of a couple with a male. So this example stands out.

For your interest here are two more examples that I did find. You can judge for yourselves if ‘sexy’ is the most appropriate description.


The apple, dipped in honey,  is a traditional element of the Rosh Hashanah meal. This meal is so much part of the strong Israeli family group that the general question is not are you having one but where.

The year is the Hebrew year 5780. Traditionally numbers were created from letters. Technically it is a quasi-decimal alphabetic numeral system using the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew numerals are used only in special cases, such as when using the Hebrew calendar, or numbering a list (similar to a, b, c, d, etc.), much as Roman numerals are used in the West.

It’s easy enough to understand the concept if you realise the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet becomes ‘1’; the next ”2′ and so on.

Year One being 3761 B.C.E. (before the Common Era). That date, of course, is not based on fossil dating. That is the date when the world was created. Rabbi Yose ben Halafta, who lived in the 2nd century CE, sat down and did the math, based on life-spans of individuals mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

In case you haven’t worked it out. The sub-heading is written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (try ToPhonetics).

Shana Tova
May you have a sweet and happy New Year

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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