Celebrate |

Rosh Hashana

by Hannah Landsmann
© Jüdisches Museum Wien
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated in autumn and lasts for two days. “Rosh” means head, “shanah” is the year, so the head of the year is its beginning. The phonetic association with the Austrian New Year’s wish “Guten Rutsch” (literally “a good slide”) at the turn of the calendar year on December 31st is perhaps a coincidence, but it probably just shows that terms and designations come into contact with each other when different cultures meet.
The gentlemen on this postcard are holding the Tashlikh ceremony. This custom has existed since the Middle Ages. Dry pieces of bread are thrown into flowing water, and one symbolically casts off one’s sins. There are ten days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish holiday, during which one should remember one’s religious duties. The New Year’s wish “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year” relates to three books that God keeps. The one that contains the names of those destined for heaven, the one that lists the names of the wicked, and the one for all of us who have shown their good as well as their not so beneficial side in the last year. If we assume that no one is all very good or all very bad, it actually makes sense to see to it that we settle small or larger problems, quarrels and conflicts until Yom Kippur in order to be entered in the third book.

:
© Jüdisches Museum Wien
:
© Jüdisches Museum Wien
Jakob Broner (sic!) and his wife received this Rosh Hashanah card, which has not been exhibited, from Kalman Langsner at their private address on Liechtensteinstrasse. Jakob Bronner was the longtime curator of the old Jewish Museum in Vienna. Langsner supported our predecessor institution with numerous donations. Unfortunately, it is not clear for which year these Jewish New Year’s greetings were sent but, in any case, they were sent from the Hungarian city of Visegrád. You can also find a Tashlikh scene on the ground floor of the Dorotheergasse Museum. A little tip: It has to do with a photograph.

Shana tova u’metuka! The entire museum team wishes you a happy and sweet new year.