Newsletter : 6fax1206.txt
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>PD Dec. 6, 1996, Vol. 4, No. 221
Hanukkah Stamp is Now Available
By Alix Sobler (VOA-New York)
The United States is issuing a special series of holiday stamps
representing the nation's cultural diversity. The first of that
series, a stamp representing the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, was
presented Thursday in New York.
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, is being shared by more
people than usual this year. The United States has issued a new
stamp with an artist's rendition of the candle holder used by Jews
all over the world to celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah. The
issuing of this stamp is of special significance to a governor of
the United States Postal Service, David Fineman, who is Jewish. At
a ceremony to introduce the stamp, Fineman explained why the Postal
Service has decided to focus on ethnic diversity.
"It is extremely significant that the Postal Service recognizes
ethnic diversity in America. America, and particularly New York
City, is not a melting pot, it just is not. And if it was a melting
pot, it would probably be very boring. I heard it described better
as a good vegetable soup. You know, we can reach inside, we can see
all the differences, and when we put them all together, we get
something we call America."
Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jews over the Syrian-Greeks
in the year 165 BCE. Fineman said the story of the courageous fight
and the effort to retain religious freedom holds a special message
for Jews and oppressed people all over the world. "What the holiday
of Hanukkah really represents, and represents to me, is a question
of a victory over bigotry."
The Hanukkah stamp was designed by the graphic designer Hannah
Smotrich. It is the first stamp to be issued by both the United
States and Israel. In the future, the United States will issue a
stamp representing the African-American celebration of Kwanza.
Stamps representing the Christian holiday Christmas have been
issued in the United States for more than 30 years.
In accordance with the key principle of Hanukkah--the festival of
lights "to publicize the miracle," and in conjunction with the
rulings by the United States District Court, as well as, the
confirmation of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, permitting
the 18-foot-menorah to be erected and displayed on Fountain Square
each Hanukkah, a candle lighting ceremony is scheduled for
Wednesday, December 11, 5:00 p.m., on Fountain Square in
The candle lighting ceremony promises to offer a beautiful program.
Hot Hanukkah latkes (traditional potato pancakes), distribution of
Hanukkah literature and Hanukkah "Menorah Kits," singing and
dancing, will highlight the one-hour ceremony. For further
information on Chabad programs call 821-5100, E-Mail email@example.com
or log on to Chabad's World Wide Web site at www2.eos.net/chabad.
Hanukkah in Easy English
By Nancy Steinbach (VOA-Washington)
Thursday night was the first night of the Jewish celebration,
Hanukkah. Hanukkah celebrates the story of the Maccabee family.
The Maccabees led a rebellion for religious freedom long ago.
More than 2,000 years ago, a Greek-Syrian king ruled the area that
is now Israel. He attempted to suppress the Jewish religion. He
placed statues of Greek gods in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. He
also tried to force the Jews to accept his religion.
Judah Maccabee led a small group of Jews against the Greek-Syrian
ruler. The Jews won the battle. They also won the freedom to follow
their own religion. They began to remove the Greek influences from
the Temple in Jerusalem.
Old books say that the Maccabees found only enough oil to light the
holy Temple lamp for one day. Yet that one-day supply of oil
burned for eight days--until the Jews could bring more oil to the
Temple. For this reason, Hanukkah is celebrated each year for
This year, Hanukkah began last night. Jews all over the world said
Hebrew prayers. They lit a lamp called a menorah. A menorah holds
nine candles. One candle is called the shamus. It is used to
light the other candles.
On the first night of Hanukkah, only one candle is lit with the
shamus. On each of the following nights, one more candle is lit.
On the last night of Hanukkah, all eight candles and the shamus
will burn brightly. On each night of the celebration, parents tell
the Hanukkah story to children and guests. Everyone sings songs of
joy. They play games and eat special foods. And they exchange
gifts. It is a happy time.
Jews do not consider Hanukkah a major religious celebration. But
Jewish leaders say Hanukkah is important. It is a time for Jews
to give thanks for the freedom to worship God in their own way.
Swiss Turned Back at Least 30,000 Refugees in World War 2
Neutral Switzerland turned back at least 30,000 refugees seeking
asylum during World War 2, triple the number previously
acknowledged, researchers said. However, the numbers do not add up
because many people whose first petitions were rejected tried to
cross into Switzerland anyway. The study, by the Swiss Federal
Archive and the Federal Bureau, confirmed Switzerland took in
230,000 refugees. Investigators examined 45,000 refugee dossiers
from 1936 to 1946 in order to compile the record.
Students to Learn Arabic
Students in grades 7 through 12 will be required to study Arabic
beginning next year, according to a Ministry of Education decision.
The decision was reached after consultations with high-ranking IDF
officers who had reported a lack of Arabic-speaking manpower,
especially in the Israeli intelligence. Arutz-7's reporter notes
that 160,000 students in junior high schools are already studying
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