Before the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS, now WRJ) was founded, Blanche Stoltz (who would be a delegate to the NFTS Founding Convention) attended the wedding of a young German couple whom her husband, Rabbi Joseph Stoltz, was marrying. Before the wedding, Blanche noticed that many of the letters of Mazel Tov the couple received were sent in the same kind of envelope. The bride explained that she had belonged to a Jewish girls’ club in Germany that raised money for charity by sending messages on beautiful cards for its members.
After NFTS was created, Blanche remembered the cards and envelopes, and related the idea to Rabbi George Zepin, the NFTS Executive Secretary. He suggested that the cards be called “Uniongrams,” after two organizations strongly connected to NFTS: the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC, now URJ) and Hebrew Union College (HUC, now HUC-JIR).
Almost from the beginning, Uniongrams were sold to raise money for the NFTS Scholarship Fund, which then supported students training to become rabbis at Hebrew Union College. Since 1955, proceeds from the sale of Uniongrams have gone to support the WRJ YES Fund.
From their inception until 1985, Uniongrams cost only 25 cents each; since then the prices have been raised to keep up with rising costs. The cards were hugely successful: in 1923, more than 23,000 were sold. They were once referred to as “a Jewish message for a Jewish people.”
Today, WRJ sells a variety of Uniongrams in a range of sizes, including regular Uniongrams for individual messaging, and Large and Giant Uniongrams for group messaging. There are also a variety of types of Uniongrams, including Goldengrams, which were initially released to celebrate the NFTS 50th Anniversary.
Be sure to order your Uniongrams today for any occasion: Jewish and secular holidays, birthdays, B’nai Mitzvot, installations, welcoming new sisterhood members, weddings, and general well-wishes.