USPS, Israel Post release joint Hanukkah issue

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Israel Post recently release a joint issue in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The holiday was marked by USPS with a non-denominated Forever stamp and by Israel Post with a 8.30-shekel issue. The U.S. issue, released on Oct. 16, is available in panes of 20 stamps.

Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. after it was reclaimed from armies that desecrated the sanctuary. Tradition relates that during the Temple rededication — Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for “dedication” — the sacramental oil needed to light the lamps was enough to burn for only one day; miraculously, it burned for eight days until new oil could be pressed. To commemorate this story, celebrations include the ritual lighting of the hanukiah, the nine-branched menorah used only during Hanukkah. 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.

JEWISH FOLK ART

The new Hanukkah stamp artwork features a menorah created using the techniques of the traditional Jewish folk art of papercutting.

The Israeli stamp features a similar design.

Artist Tamar Fishman made a pencil sketch of the design and then with a fine blade, cut the two-dimensional image on white paper. She chose blue-purple and green papers for the background to highlight the central design. Behind the menorah is a shape reminiscent of an ancient oil jug that represents the heart of Hanukkah.

Additional design elements include dreidels — spinning tops used to play a children’s game during the holiday — and a pomegranate plant with fruit and flowers.

CANADIAN HANUKKAH STAMP

Last year, Canada Post issued its first-ever Hanukkah stamp; however, the day after being unveiled in Toronto—and only one day before it was slated to go on sale across the country—the stamp was removed from display and returned to head office because of what the Crown corporation called “a design issue” with the booklet and first-day cover.

Initially slated for release on Nov. 14, 2017, as a booklet of 10, the stamp was unveiled two days earlier; however, according to a Canada Post memo sent to all dealer post offices on Nov. 13, entitled “IMPORTANT: Stop selling Hanukkah stamp products immediately,” the booklet (product code “414066111”) and official first-day cover (product code “414066131”) were ordered to be “immediately removed from display and returned.”

“These products are not to be sold to customers and they are also no longer available through mail order or online,” read the memo, which also explained “the reprinted version” of the stamp booklets and OFDC would “be back on sale in the next coming weeks.”

The products were to be returned no later than Nov. 22.

Post offices were also requested to remove the November 2017 issue of Details magazine, which featured the original Hanukkah products.

Despite being ordered back from all post offices across the country, some of these items were mistakenly sold at post offices, and some of these items were available on eBay. A variety of “recalled” booklets are available for between $30 and $50, and several OFDCs are being offered for upwards of

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