The Chanukah Stamp
The First US Jewish Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a new series of “Holiday Celebration” stamps in 1996* with the debut of the first stamp commemorating the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. (2009 update below)
The Chanukah stamp is the first U.S. stamp to recognize a Jewish holiday. Jointly issued with Israel, both countries feature the same design. The U.S. version contains the English spelling of “Hanukkah” and the Israeli stamp features the Hebrew spelling.
The Chanukah stamp was designed by Hannah Smotrich, a graphic designer and instructor at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and Board Member of the Washington Chapter – American Institute of Graphic Arts.
Smotrich created the stamp design using pieces of cut colored paper, a medium she has used to create cards for family and friends. Smotrich paid particular attention to the choice of colors for the candles and background “to emphasize the upbeat nature of a playful, joyous holiday.”
The U.S. Postal Service will issue a new Holiday Celebrations series stamp each year reflecting a different cultural or ethnic holiday. The Postal Service will print 142 million of the Chanukah stamps.
For Chanukah 2009 the 3rd US Chanukah stamp was released. From the US Postal Service website…
The new 2009 Hanukkah design features a photograph of a menorah with nine lit candles. The menorah was designed by Lisa Regan of the Garden Deva Sculpture Company in Tulsa, OK, and photographed by Ira Wexler of Braddock Heights, MD.
The 2009 Hanukkah stamp is the third U.S. issuance to commemorate the holiday. The Postal Service issued its first Hanukkah stamp, which featured a stylized illustration of a menorah, in 1996. A design featuring an ornate dreidel followed in 2004.
In 2004 a new Chanukah stamp was released. Designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda Maryland, this stamp features a Chanukah dreidel floating on a background of letters forming the word Hanukkah. (Chanukah? Hanukkah? Hanuka?). This new stamp has been updated for the 2008 holiday season.
*Please Note: Our local Post Office has assured us that the Chanukah stamp will be available every year for the holiday season