Preserving Memories: Jewish Scrapbooking
Written by Rachel Simon, Shalom Scrapper
Scrapbooking - a hobby where women of all generations lay out their photographs and memories in a creative fashion - is an enormously popular hobby today.
In fact, there are 32 million scrapbookers in the United States alone (there are more scrapbookers than golfers!). People who scrapbook preserve all of the events of their lives – their weddings, children’s lives, interests, etc. I have been a scrapbooker for nine years now, and my pages come alive with memories (in pictures and text) of my family’s experiences: the day my husband proposed to me…the day my daughter Abby walked her first steps…the day my son Ethan had his first zoo trip. Many of my scrapbook pages also capture ordinary events: goofy faces, relaxing on the couch, playing a board game…my scrapbooks truly transport me back in time as I flip through the pages of our lives.
Not surprisingly, there have been basically no scrapbook products that cater to the growing Jewish segment of scrapbookers. And when there have been products, they have all been for Hannukah, which the world must believe is our only holiday! This is ironic, because our culture is rich in life cycle events that we gather as families and communities to celebrate. From B’rit Milah and Baby Naming Ceremonies to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, to the abundant traditions of our Jewish weddings – and all of the Passover Seders and latke parties in between - Jews never miss an opportunity to gather as one family and rejoice. And we always take pictures – especially of the food! Now more than ever, it is important that those memories be documented, preserved, and passed down for future generations. Because of the large gap in the under-served Jewish market, we decided to fill this void and start Shalom Scrapper.
Why Jewish scrapbooking?
Beyond the business aspect, there really is a noble intent behind our decision to start Shalom Scrapper. With more and more Jews marrying outside the faith, Jewish children being pulled away from engagement with their local temples by competing priorities, and increasing emphasis on commercialization of the holiday season, Jewish families need a vehicle to document, preserve, and pass down the values of our Jewish faith. Scrapbooking allows families to do that. Our papers give the perfect instrument to journal the meaning of the holiday, the traditions the family has established, and more. We believe in our hearts that when Jewish children see their Jewish upbringing documented before their eyes, it will have a profound impact on shaping their Jewish identity as they get older.
Not sure how to get started?
I was once a new scrapbooker, too – a little overwhelmed at my pile of pictures and not sure how to get my creative juices flowing. Here are my recommendations:
Sort your pictures – first by year, then by month, then by event. Put them in labeled boxes so that they are organized and accessible.
Buy some supplies – ease yourself in since there are so many choices. Take a visit to your local scrapbook store (look in the Yellow Pages), an online store (such as www.scrapyourtrip.com), or a big craft chain store like Michaels or JoAnns. They all have a nice selections of albums, adhesives, and paper. Make sure your supplies are acid-free and lignin-free, as these will ensure that your photos will not fade over time.
Start scrapbooking with an event that you are excited about – your wedding (this was my first project), your pregnancy, your last birthday party, your last vacation, etc. Buy themed paper and stickers to create the look you are after. For instance, if you are scrapbooking a birthday party, buy some cute 12x12 paper that has balloons on it. Add some stickers that say “Happy Birthday!”
Search on-line galleries for inspiration and ideas. Ready to scrapbook a Jewish event? Check out the gallery on www.shalomscrapper.com for ideas.
Don’t forget to journal. This is an important part of scrapbooking. What happened that day? What do you want to remember? Put in your own words your thoughts on the event.
Don’t be critical of your first endeavors. When I look back at my first couple of albums, it is neat to see how my scrapbooking style has progressed.
Have fun! I often like to scrap with my sisters and other friends – it is a fun way to bounce ideas off of each other and have a good time while preserving our memories.
I hope you enjoy scrapbooking as much as I do!
By Rachel Simon
[This article was reprinted with permission by the author from http://www.modernjewishmom.com]