News and schmooze

Ronald J. Scheiman is concerned about the future of the Hanukkah stamp, which will be issued on Friday, October 9 at the Mega Stamp Show in New York. It should be available at all post offices by Monday, Oct. 12.

This year’s Hanukkah stamp design features a photograph of a menorah with nine lit candles. According to Scheiman, who runs the website, 2009 is the 14th year in which there has been a Hanukkah stamp. However, this year’s stamp design is only the 3rd new design since the first was issued in 1996. That 1996 menorah design was revalued and reissued from 1997 through 2003. The second design, a dreidel, was issued in 2004 and revalued and reissued from 2005 through 2008.


Scheiman writes: “The U.S. Postal Service claims there is a lack of demand for Hanukkah stamps as the reason for not issuing a new design every year. I do not believe this to be true. When a new stamp is issued it gets a full distribution to all post offices. When it is a reissue, post offices have a choice of ordering them or not . . . The pressure to resupply is only applied when a complaint is made to the U.S. Postal Service’s headquarters in Washington, not the local post office.”

Truth is, the U.S. Postal Service is in real financial trouble and facing the possibility of many cutbacks, not the least of which is the Hanukkah stamp. Still, should you want to express your thoughts on this matter, the address is John G. Potter, Postmaster General, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC, 20260 or [email protected]

If you’re interested in learning to read Hebrew, now’s your chance. Rabbinic intern Daniel Felix at Aish Hatorah, 457 N. Woods Mill Road, will hold a series of five free crash-course classes beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1. Notice was late in getting out, so don’t worry if you missed the first class, you can catch up. Call the office at 314-862-2474 to register.

Tennis star Venus Williams received an award from the Anti-Defamation League for opposing the exclusion from play of an Israeli tennis player. Williams was presented with ADL’s Americanism Award last week in New York for speaking out against a move in February to exclude Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er from a tournament in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates had refused to issue a visa to Pe’er, Israel’s top female tennis player, preventing her from taking part in the Dubai Tennis Championship.

“All the players support Shahar,” Williams told Tennis Week. “We are all athletes, and we stand for tennis.” In addition to Williams, other players expressed support for Pe’er and the Tennis Channel pulled its planned coverage of the tournament as a protest against the UAE’s refusal to grant her entry.

After receiving the award, Williams said she strongly believes in equality among tennis players and that she did not think UAE officials would deny Pe’er a visa next time.

You heard it here first ladies: Libby’s, the Picasso of Women’s Clothing, recently opened in the Central West End in the space once occupied by Bissinger’s at 4742 McPherson Ave. (before the confectioners moved a few blocks away). Owned by Deborah Gibbens, Libby’s caters to stylish women 40 years and older who want unique designs (as in not the usual stuff you see at malls) in sizes that will actually fit them. To that end, most of the clothes run from small to XXL, with more in large to XXL sizes. The boutique also has lots of nifty jewelry and creative accessories. Gibbens, too, is a hoot; years ago she lived in St. Louis and worked at Helen Wolff’s before moving back to her native Oklahoma, where she has a similar shop. “I promise on my favorite feather boa that Libby’s will never have a sweater with golf clubs or Scottie dogs,” Gibbens says. “I just love free flowing clothing with sassy color that feel good.”

Some of you have wondered where Lois Caplan’s column has been the past few weeks. Unfortunately, Lois is in the hospital, having suffered a severe heart attack last month.

The good news is that she seems to be on the mend and now progressing à la Lois, which means faster than many people half her age. Her daughter, Leslie, reports that Lois was able to sit in a chair over the weekend for four hours (“they thought 15 minutes, but Lois has always been an overachiever,” Leslie points out) and that her doctors were 80 percent sure she could be taken off the ventilator this week.

“This is the blessing and the curse: she will now be talking,” says Leslie, who adds that Lois’ beloved 4-vpound poodle Lili has been keeping her company the past week in the hospital. “There was some controversy about Lili staying but she has won the hearts of so many of the staff that they went to bat for her and she gets to stay,” says Leslie.

Knowing Lois, I am sure one of her big concerns is not being able to connect with readers. So I’ll try to pick up the slack during her absence and let you know what’s up in the Jewish social scene as long as you let me know. The best way to do that is through email to efu[email protected]