On Nov. 1, the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the Hanukkah Forever Stamp. You can buy these stamps and use them “forever” — a great service of the U.S. Postal Service.
Here is the information from their website about the stamp and the dedication ceremony (I never knew there was a dedication ceremony for first-day-of-issue stamps):
“BOCA RATON, Florida — The U.S. Postal Service’s new Hanukkah Forever stamp — available nationwide today — features a warm, elegant illustration of a holiday menorah in the window of a home. The eight nights and days of Hanukkah begin on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. In 2016, Hanukkah begins at sundown Dec. 24.
“The first-day-of-issue stamp dedication ceremony took place at the Temple Beth El of Boca Raton. The public is asked to share the news of the stamp using the hashtag #HanukkahStamps.
“ ‘The Hanukkah stamp we’re dedicating today honors a religious observance that is more than 2,000 years old — and how appropriate that the word itself — Hanukkah — means “dedication” in Hebrew,’ said U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams. ‘This beautiful stamp depicts a warm, elegant illustration of a holiday menorah in the window of a home. The white window trim is visible through the branches of the menorah, which echo a tangle of snow-covered tree branches beyond the glass. Artist William Low added visual interest to the scene by highlighting the contrast between the hot candle flames and the cool snow, the vertical candles and the horizontal window frame, and the dark menorah with the brightly lit candles. Starting today, this beautiful image of remembrance, light and love will travel on letters and packages to millions of households and businesses throughout America and around the world.’
“Low, of Huntington, New York, worked under art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland, who designed the stamp.
“Joining Williams in dedicating the stamp were Temple Beth El of Boca Raton Rabbi Jessica Brockman, Senior Rabbi Dan Levin and Rabbi Greg Weisman. U.S. Postal Service South Florida District Manager Jeffery Taylor served as master of ceremonies.
“ ‘We are deeply honored to host the Postal Service in unveiling this year’s Chanukah stamp,’ said Levin. ‘The holiday of Chanukah is a celebration of the triumph of the spirit over oppression so deeply reflected in the story of America. All of us in the Jewish community are proud to see our heritage woven into the philatelic tradition of America.’ ”
Every Jewish website and blog today talks about growing anti-Semitism and this time of year we are particularly sensitive to it. The tradition for Hanukkah is to put your hanukkiah in the window so that you are publicizing the miracle of the oil. Should we be “Maccabees” today and not be afraid? The answer is a definite yes! This beautiful government-issued reminder that we can and should shine our light! Happy Hanukkah.
Shalom from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.