Are you Missing this Israel-U.S. Joint Issue Stamp?
In 1996, the USPS collaborated with Israel to produce joint issue stamps honoring Hanukkah. Issued on October 22, 1996, the Hanukkah stamps of the US and Israel featured the same designs, though the US stamp used the English spelling of Hanukkah, while the Israel stamp also included the Hebrew spelling. This Israel stamp was also that nation’s first self-adhesive. Order your Israel joint-issue stamp and don’t forget the US stamp, #3118, which you can order here.
Hanukkah is a celebration of a miracle that occurred at the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC, when the Maccabees revolted against Syrian King Antiochus IV. The temple was reclaimed, but only enough purified oil was on hand to keep its light burning for one night. Yet the lamp burned for eight days, allowing the Maccabees time to purify more oil. Since that time, Jewish people celebrate the “Festival of Lights” each year for eight days.
The lighting of the menorah is a joyous Hanukkah tradition guided by symbolic rituals. The Hanukkah menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum, which holds eight candles that will be lit each night of the holiday. The ninth branch holds the shamash (helper) candle, which is used to light the others. Hanukkah candles are all the same height, but the shamash candle must be separate and longer.
Candles are placed in the menorah, one per day during the holiday, moving right to left. They are lit in the opposite direction after the first star of the night appears. Two blessings are said during the lighting, with a third recited on the first evening.
Menorahs were originally placed outside homes to the left of the doorpost. Today they are displayed in windows or built outdoors, including two 32-foot menorahs that mark the holiday in New York City.