2011 44¢ Hanukkah
Issue Date: October 14, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Offset
Syrians conquered Israel more than 2,000 years ago, forbidding the Jews to practice their religion. Young Jewish men secretly gathered to study their holy scriptures. When Syrian soldiers approached, they quickly hid their studies and produced a dreidel. Seeing the four-sided top, the soldiers continued on their way, convinced the men were simply gambling. The Jewish scholars then returned to their studies.
Some years later, a small band of brave Jewish fighters defeated Syrian soldiers and reclaimed the temple at Jerusalem. Only enough purified oil was available to keep the temple light burning for the first day of the rededication ceremony. The light burned for eight days, enough time to purify more oil. Hanukkah celebrates this miracle.
The dreidel is a favorite children’s game during Hanukkah. Each side of the top has a Hebrew letter, and together they spell Nes Gadol Hayah Sham. This means “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the light in the temple. The individual letters have different meanings for the children’s game, telling them to add a chocolate gelt (coin) to the pot, take half the pot, take it all, or do nothing. The player who gets all the gelt wins the game, but each child learns the meaning of Hanukkah.