This joyous Jewish holiday commemorates the liberation and reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a time for family and friends to come together to rejoice.
A dedication ceremony for the stamp was held today at Temple Emanu El.
“I remember looking forward to Hanukkah as a child, especially the traditional foods, gifts, and games,” said Lori Dym, U.S. Postal Service managing counsel for procurement and property law, who served as the dedicating official. “And now, on behalf of the 655,000 men and women of the United States Postal Service, I am honored to participate in the unveiling of our new stamp celebrating this joyous Jewish holiday.”
Dym was joined by Susan Krantz, president of Temple Emanu El; Rabbi Matt Cohen; Jeanette Kuvin Oren, the stamp’s designer and artist; Kathy Mulcahy, mayor of Orange Village, OH; and Darcy Hershey, congregant and administrative assistant at Temple Emanu El.
“Temple Emanu El is honored that the United States Postal Service approached our congregation to host the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the launch of the 2022 Chanukah Stamp,” said Krantz. “We are proud that in selecting Temple Emanu El, the USPS recognized our long-standing passion for social justice which is deeply embedded in our traditions. Our congregants care about the world around us and engage in the ongoing work of helping to improve the world in which we live. Our temple is a Jewish institution of connection, gathering, learning and practicing spiritual life. Working together we bring meaning to our lives and to the lives of others.”
“The miracle of Hanukkah came early this year (kind of)!” said Cohen. “While our Hanukkah menorahs are not yet kindled, this communal celebration reminds us that despite all odds, throughout time and history, the lights of the Jewish people have miraculously continued to grow brightly and illuminate the world with wholeness, blessing, and peace. Our Temple Emanu El family is honored to host this event and to welcome our friends from the Greater Cleveland Community into our sacred home.”
News of the stamps is being shared on social media using the hashtag #HanukkahStamp. Followers of the Postal Service’s Facebook page can view the stamp story at facebook.com/usps.
Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew. The story of Hanukkah begins with the victory of the Maccabees, an army of Jewish fighters, over the forces of Hellenic emperor Antiochus IV, whose supporters had desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by building an altar to the Greek god Zeus.
After reclaiming the Temple and preparing to rededicate the holy space, the worshippers discovered that only one small jar of consecrated oil remained — enough to last one day. Rather than wait for more oil to arrive, they lit the Temple menorah, which miraculously burned for eight days.
The miracle of the oil is celebrated with the ceremonial lighting of the hanukkiah, the nine-branch candelabra used only at Hanukkah. The hanukkiah, also called menorah, holds eight candles, one for each night of Hanukkah, plus one known as the “shamash,” which means the servant or helper candle used to light the others.
The candle for the first night is put on the far-right side of the menorah. On each subsequent night, an additional candle is placed to the immediate left of the previous night’s candle. The candles are lit from left to right, so that the lighting begins with the newest candle.
A family-centered holiday, Hanukkah celebrations usually take place in people’s homes, with games, songs, gifts and feasting. Traditional fried foods include latkes — potato pancakes — and doughnuts called sufganiyot.
Hanukkah begins on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. In 2022, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Dec. 18.
The stamp art features the design from an original wall-hanging. The fiber art was hand-dyed, appliquéd and quilted to form an abstract image of a hanukkiah.
The blue and purple colors are used to represent the sky, the greens and browns represent the earth. The bright yellows and oranges represent the Festival of Lights, as Hanukkah is also known. Along the bottom of the stamp, the words Hanukkah, Forever and USA appear in white capital letters.
Jeanette Kuvin Oren was the stamp designer and artist. Ethel Kessler was the art director.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide.
The Hanukkah Forever stamp is sold in panes of 20. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1‑ounce price.
The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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