18 October 2018
The US Postal Service and Israel Post have jointly issued a Hanukkah stamp featuring an image of the Hanukkah menorah created through the art form of papercutting
The new joint issue stamp, which was launched at America’s oldest synagogue, the 254-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, portrays a papercut menorah. The original artwork was created by Tamar Fishman and the stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler.
Postal Service Judicial Officer Gary Shapiro said:
'The stamp we’re celebrating today depicts an image of the Hanukkah menorah created through papercutting — a Jewish art form that dates at least to the Middle Ages. Starting today, this work of art celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights will travel on millions of letters and packages, throughout America and around the world.'
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the liberation and reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BC.
Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for 'dedication.' Tradition relates that during the rededication, there was only enough sacramental oil to light the Temple lamps for one day; however, the lamps burned for eight days. This is re-enacted during Hanukkah with the ritual lighting of the hanukiah, a menorah – candelabra – with nine branches. Eight branches hold candles representing each of the eight nights and days of Hanukkah; the ninth, the shamash or 'servant,' is used to light the other candles.
Hanukkah begins on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. In 2018, Hanukkah begins at sundown on 2 December.