One of the various small jobs that I do is working on a weekly, on-line publication called Israel HighWay. The target audience is North American high school students and the goal is to educate and inspire them about Israel. So, we are going to start posting the 'Issue of the Week' each week on the blog. In addition to the Issue of the Week, there is a collection of 12-15 additional articles on all sorts of different subject pertaining to Israel. While the target audience is for highschool kids, the articles are interesting to adults as well. If you are interested in getting this weekly in your email box (or have kids who you think would enjoy it) please click here. This is a great tool for Jewish educators who want to bring current events and interesting Israel angles into their classroom.
No One Uses Snail Mail Anymore - Too Bad
by Israel Highway Staff
In May 2008, in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the State, Israel will host the World Stamp Championships. Over 2500 stamp exhibits from 70 countries will participate from May 14-21, 2008. For one week, Israel will be at the center of the world of stamps, confirming what many Zionist stamp enthusiasts have always believed.
Stamps have an incredibly colorful history and tell a detailed story of a country. They are like a footprint, recording history, culture, politics, and even food. In Israel - a young country of less than 60 years and, at the same time, an old land with a history dating back thousands of years - stamps capture both the vigor of the new country while simultaneously paying tribute to the ancient land.
Prior to 1948, the stamps of the British Palestine Mandate usually showed a British monarch or an ancient site in Jerusalem. After Israel’s founding, however, Israeli stamps became a window into Israel’s ancient and modern history, culture, heroes, flowers, geography, Zionism and Judaism. Israeli stamps have a high level of artistic expression and are produced with strict attention to the balance between the number of issues, variety of topics and range of denominations. Their unique creativity and vibrancy make Israeli stamps highly valued in the world’s philatelic circles. Israeli stamps reflect Israel’s aspirations for peace and the country’s efforts in building and developing its society and culture.
The history of the country is recorded through stamps in a way that appeals to stamp aficionados, history buffs and lovers of art and design. Through stamps, the collector or the recipient of a piece of mail anywhere in the world can get an original perspective on the images, symbols, personalities, and events in the story of life in Israel.
Each year, the Israeli Postal Authority's Philatelic Service produces approximately 25 to 30 stamps in five series. Stamps are accompanied by first-day covers, a collector's page, an annual album, postcards, and artistic posters. The Philatelic Service is also responsible for producing special postmarks, which are also valued among stamp enthusiasts. The Philatelic Service has some 44,000 subscribers in Israel and another 7,000 overseas who receive every new stamp as it is issued. Israeli stamps are also sold at counters all over Israel, through stamp dealers, and via some 15 agents overseas.
This week, on February 20, the Israeli Postal Authority issued its newest stamp series dedicated to Israeli Educational Television; Physical Education and Sports in Israel; and Development of the Galilee and the Negev. These three series offer a perfect example of the uniqueness of Israeli stamps and how they reflect Israeli society. The series feature favorite characters of Israeli children’s television; the Israeli enthusiasm for sports and the outdoors; and the Israeli/Zionist pioneering spirit of settling the Galilee and the Negev.
Last year alone, Israel published stamp series dedicated to Israeli leaders, flowers, Rabbis of Jerusalem, Crusader sites in Israel, the Mishna, Sephardi Hamsas (hand-shaped good luck amulets) and more.
To draw further attention to the variety and quality of Israeli stamps, the Israeli Postal service is currently running an on-line contest to choose the most beautiful Israeli stamp of 2006. Prizes are available for those who choose the winning entry. The contest runs through February 28 - so vote today!
If you are looking for an interactive and fun way to learn more about the history of Israel, Judaism and the Land of Israel, look at Israel's stamps. There’s even an on-line stamp game that is a fun and easy way to learn about Israeli leaders, flora and fauna, famous rabbis and more!
Since the founding of the State of Israel, collecting Israeli stamps has been a favorite past-time for both the serious stamp collector and the curious Zionist. No wonder Israeli stamps are still scooped up by collectors around the world. Now, if only we could figure how to use them on email... hmmm.