West Palm Beach, FL - So Many Days Of Hanukkah, So Few Stamps
West Palm Beach, FL - Have you thought much about holiday stamp parity?
You have if youâ€™re Ronald Scheiman, 74, of Boynton Beach, Fla., who has been fighting the lonely fight for more Hanukkah stamps for nearly 20 years now.
‘‘I think all the Christmas stamps are beautiful,’’ Scheiman said. ‘‘I donâ€™t have an objection to them. I just think there should be equal respect and recognition for Hanukkah.’‘
The U.S. Postal Service, which issues a newly designed Christmas stamp every year, has had only four different designs for its Hanukkah stamp since 1996.
‘‘They can find hundreds of different styles of menorahs and dreidels to use,’’ Scheiman said. ‘‘Itâ€™s a simple matter of ‘Why not?’‘’
What are we, second-class?
Scheiman, a former postal clerk on Long Island, got involved with his stamp suggestion efforts after the U.S. Postal Service started issuing a Chinese New Year stamp.
‘‘It started as a joke with a co-worker,’’ he said. ‘‘I said, ‘Why not a Jewish New Year stamp?’‘’
That led to the realization that while the postal service had been issuing different Christmas stamps with a Madonna and Child theme every year since 1978, there was no Hanukkah stamp.
So Scheiman lobbied for the Hanukkah stamp in 1993, and three years later the postal service issued its first one, a colorful menorah design.
The Christmas stamps, which are reproductions of famous Madonna and Child paintings, continued changing, but the same menorah stamp was issued every year until 2003, when the postal service switched its Hanukkah stamp to a brown dreidel design.
Hoping for a miracle
The brown dreidel lasted for four Hanukkahs, until two years ago, when a new blue-background menorah stamp appeared.
Last month, the postal service replaced the 2-year-old menorah stamp ..
with one that spells out the word ‘‘Hanukkahâ€™’ in colorful blocks, with one of those blocks in the shape of a dreidel.
‘‘The only reason they changed it this year is because they switched to the ‘foreverâ€™ stamp,’’ Scheiman said. ‘‘And I already know theyâ€™re not changing it again for next year.’‘
The stamp selection at the postal service is handled by a 10-member Citizensâ€™ Stamp Advisory Committee. Over the years, Scheiman has had a running commentary, via email, with his former employer about the lack of new Hanukkah stamp designs.
It hasnâ€™t gotten him very far.
Monday, he got another polite rejection from the postal service.
‘‘Each year, the Postal Service receives suggestions from thousands of people for new postage stamps,’’ Christina Scacca, a consumer relations specialist, wrote him.
The committee weighs decisions on ‘‘national appeal and historical perspective,’’ she wrote.
‘‘Our ultimate goal is to create a yearly stamp program that reflects all that is great about America—from events and people that bind us together to the diversity of cultures which form the foundation of our nation.’‘
Scheiman doesnâ€™t buy the argument that thereâ€™s just not enough demand for a new Hanukkah stamp every year. He answered the postal serviceâ€™s polite rejection by inviting its administrators to explore the website he created: Hanukkahstampquest.com.
His quest continues.
‘‘Iâ€™m going to keep after this as long as I can,’’ Scheiman said. ‘‘My other issue is that some post offices donâ€™t even stock the stamps. There are people who donâ€™t even know there are Hanukkah stamps.’’
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