Jewish Literacy Foundation

Sponsors "World's Largest Rosh Hashanah Card"

By Susie Davidson

Advocate Correspondent

24 year old Tobey Herzog of Baltimore had a dream.

She wanted to unite thousands of young Jews all over the world with those in Israel for the coming New Year. Her idea was to launch a gigantic Rosh Hashanah card that would convey support and wishes to those living a far more stressful existence.

Korean-born Herzog sings praises of her Judaic upbringing. A graduate of Baltimore's Bais Yaakov high school, she studied for a year in Israel and received a B.A. in Russian and Hebrew language from the University of Maryland.

"People keep asking where this idea came from," she says, "so here goes.

"This whole project grew out of pain, frustration, and a dream. Pain over what is happening to so many of our fellow Jews in Israel, frustration from feeling so helpless about being able to do anything, and a dream that perhaps, just perhaps, something meaningful could be done.

"This effort, The World’s Largest Rosh Hashanah Card," she continues, "is meant to be an expression of something I believe in dearly – that if young Jews like myself work together, we actually can do something truly amazing for Israel, and most especially, for the children of Israel. "

Shimon Apisdorf, Tobey's boss at the Jewish Literacy Foundation and author of The Rosh Hashanah - Yom Kippur Survival Kit, was enthused, adding an idea to register the card with Guinness. Following this year's Passover holiday, Tobey put thought into action on the net, and when the Israel Emergency Solidarity Fund caught wind, they spread the word with faxes to schools, synagogues and JCCs. In memory of those killed since the previous Rosh Hashanah, they asked students to make the cards.

In a multidenominational outpouring of support, 35,000 cards came in, originating from Canada to Australia. The cards are being digitally entered online, and thousands are to be mounted on panels which will ultimately make up a 3200 sq. foot card. At a ceremony in New York which will be sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the card will be sent on its way. Disassembled and flown to Israel, it will be presented there at a reception in early September.

Participating local organizations include the Boston Board of Jewish Education, the UJA of the North Shore in Salem, Beth Israel Synagogue of Worcester and Solomon Schecter of Stoughton as well as many national and international groups including USY, AJOP, Hillel's center for Jewish Engagement, Aish HaTorah, Young Judaea camps, Gan Israel Camps Worldwide,

"By working together," Herzog asserts, "we can send a message to the children and the people of Israel that says: It’s true, we are one people. It’s true, when one of us hurts, we all hurt. It’s true, for the Jewish people, there are no borders, just one big heart that unites us all. Together, we can make a difference."

The effort will be ongoing, and schools can contact for information.