Israel released two stamps December 23rd celebrating Hanukkah. The minor (except
to children) holiday recalls the rededication of the Second Holy Temple in
Jerusalem after its desecration a few years earlier by the Syrian Greek
king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
The series began in 1993 and ends next year during the 50th anniversary
celebration of the founding of Israel. Each of the stamps in the series
contains a similar design of a menorah, the nine-branch candelabra.
The 1.80-shekel stamp depicts a turn-of-the-century Hanukkah Dreidel
created at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem. The Hebrew letters on
most dreidels (tops) stand for "A Great Miracle Occurred Here," but the
ones on the dreidel shown in this stamp symbolizes "A Great Miracle
Occurred THERE," which indicates the dreidel, while made in Israel, was
intended for sale in other countries (click the image for a detailed view).
The 2.10-shekel stamp shows a coin from the Bar-Kochba rebellion against
the Roman Legionnaires in the Holy Land in 132-135 A.D. That was the last
time the region was under Jewish control until the establishment of
modern-day Israel 1800 years later in 1948. According to a press release,
"these coins were actually Roman provincial silver tetradrachmas, denaris
and drachmas that were overstruck to erase the emblems of the nemy and to
demonstrate the sovereignty of the Jewish rebels. The coin depicts a jug,
perhaps used for service in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem." (click the image for a detailed view)
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