Israel: 5 Issues + ATM Label in December 2017

From Israel Post. These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017:

Snakes, Submarines and Sport Arenas and are just a few of the popular topics that are included in the last stamp issues of 2017.

The magnificent gold –domed Russian church named the Gorny Convent in Jerusalem was chosen as the topic for the Joint Issue with Russia. The church represents Russia’s deep religious bond to Jerusalem and the joint issue expresses Russia’s friendship with Israel.

Some people scream and others have them as pets but Snakes are first and foremost an important component in the food chain of predators and prey. Although no one wants to get bitten by a snake, it is imperative that they are kept safe as part of ensuring healthy ecological systems.

Submarines are an important part of any navy and this stamp set shows the history of the submarines acquired by Israel’s Navy. Today, interestingly, some of the most innovative parts of the new sophisticated submarines are manufactured in Israel.

Today, when you visit one of the Ancient Roman Arenas represented on this stamp set you can close your eyes and imagine the noise, the atmosphere, the cheering on, bloody shows, gladiators and chariot races. All this is depicted on the stamps which represent three types of Roman arenas that are found in Israel: theater, amphitheater and hippodrome.

Israel recognizes the importance of Integrating People with Disabilities in Society and promoting their increased involvement in the life of the country, not only as those who receive but also as those that want to contribute and share their talents with society.

A delightful illustration is found on this year’s Season’s Greetings from the Holy Land ATM label. Perfect to send good wishes to friends around the world.

Submarines in Israel (Israel 2017)

These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017. From Israel Post:

The Israeli Navy did not have any submarines when it was founded in March 1948. The thought of acquiring and operating submarines did not ripen until a few years later. It was a bold and innovative step for the teams slated to operate these submarines as well as the technical personnel who would maintain them. Submarine personnel are selected meticulously, as they must be extremely level-headed and professional, and beyond all else must be able to work and live as a team.

S Class Submarine, 1959
The Navy’s flotilla of submarines was established in 1959 and included two outdated submarines purchased from the British Navy’s surplus. These submarines, with all their limitations, served as a first step for Israel’s young Navy. One of them, the INS (Israeli Naval Ship) Tanin, participated in a daring operation during the Six Day War.

T Class Submarine, 1967
Based on its experience to that point, it was decided that the Navy should acquire newer submarines, the T Class, which were also British-made. The second in the series, the INS Dakar, sank en route to Israel with its entire crew of 69 onboard. The cause remains a mystery to this day. The Navy subsequently decided not to purchase any more used submarines, but rather to order new ones.

Gal Class Submarines, 1976
The Gal Class Submarines were manufactured in Britain to the Israeli Navy’s specifications. The first in the series arrived in Israel in 1976. The submarines in this series were very stealthy and reliable.

Today, the Israeli Navy operates new, sophisticated submarines. Some of the most innovative parts are manufactured in Israel. The Navy has made great strides since the initial decision to incorporate submarines into its fleet, largely thanks to the first generations of visionary submariners who forged the way.

Description of the Stamps
The stamps in this set feature three submarine models. The tabs show a submariner working on the submarine.

The photographs are courtesy of the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa. The First Day Cover shows the Gal Submarine as it ceremoniously enters the Haifa Port in the 1970’s.

Snakes in Israel (Israel 2017)

From Israel Post. These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017. Larger image below.

Israel is home to many different reptile species thanks to its location at the meeting point of three different continents and the wealth of habitats it provides. Some 100 reptile species make their homes here, among them approximately 40 species of snakes, nine of which are venomous.

Snakes are an important component in ecological systems and in the food chain of predators and prey. They feed on arthropods, fish, fowl, small mammals and other reptiles, including snakes, each species according to its size and abilities. Snakes are preyed upon by birds, hedgehogs, mongooses and other animals.

Snakes also face other dangers – dwindling numbers of habitats, accidents with vehicles on the roads and agricultural equipment in the fields, as well as intentional harm by humans. All the snakes and other reptile species in Israel are protected by law and it is illegal to harm them. It is imperative that they are kept safe, as part of ensuring healthy ecological systems.

Schokari Sand Racer (Psammophis schokari)
Length: to 120 cm

This is a rear fanged snake, i.e. it has venomous back teeth. The venom is not injected by a quick bite but rather through a prolonged bite. Like the other sub venomous snakes found in Israel, the Schokari Sand Racer is not hazardous to humans. It is thin and fast and has a number of different attributes: in the northern and central areas of the country it most commonly has four dark lengthwise stripes against a brownish-yellow background whereas the snakes in the south have faded lengthwise stripes or none at all. There is a dark stripe along the sides of the head, beside the eyes. This is one of the only snake species in Israel that can be found throughout the entire country, from Mt. Hermon in the north to Eilat in the south. It is common in different habitats, climbs on shrubs, walls, etc. It feeds on a wide range of animals: arthropods, reptiles, birds and small rodents.

Large Whip Snake (Dolichophis jugularis)
Length: to 250 cm

The Large Whip Snake is not venomous. It is large and shiny and its appearance changes when it reaches maturity. When young, this snake is brown or grey with black and white spots. The mature snake (usually more than 120 cm in length) is completely black. In both instances, the shade of the lower jaw is lighter than the body. It feeds on different animals: reptiles, birds, rodents and more. These snakes are commonly found in agricultural areas, where their food supply is abundant, thus they are frequently killed by farming equipment. Found from Mt. Hermon in the north to the Beer Sheva area in the south.

Palestine Viper (Daboia palaestinae)
Length: to 135 cm

The Viper is venomous and the most dangerous to humans of all the snake species found in Israel, due to the potency and quantity of its venom, as well as its prevalence in inhabited areas. Its background color is yellowish, light brown or grey, with a lengthwise zigzag stripe that is brown with dark edges. Sometimes this stripe appears broken. There are additional spots on the sides of the body. This snake’s head is significantly wider than its neck and it has small scales. It is common in various habitats (including sand) in the Mediterranean region, from Mt. Hermon in the north to the Beer Sheva area in the south. It is prevalent around agricultural communities, where it is attracted to the rodents found in chicken coops, storerooms, cowsheds, etc. This Viper is responsible for the vast majority of cases in which humans are bitten in Israel. Hospitals have an antidote for its venom, which is given to the injured as needed.

Rules of Caution
In the field: high-top shoes are recommended; do not stick one’s hand into concealed places (day or night); shake out equipment and shoes after spending the night outdoors. In inhabited areas: avoid piles of pruned branches, scrap-iron, stones, etc. Keep the area clear of food scraps that attract rodents.

If You See a Snake
In the field: allow the snake to find its way by itself. Do not approach it or try to trap it. At home or in the yard: call a trained snake catcher. Keep children and animals away from the snake and try to keep it in sight until the catcher arrives. A list of licensed snake catchers is posted on the Israel Nature and Parks Authority website. Some local authorities also provide snake catching services.

First Aid in Case of Snakebite
What to do: calm the injured person, lie them down and take them to the hospital (even if he/she feels well). If the bite is on the arm or leg, it is possible to put a splint on the limb (like in the case of a fracture). Remove any rings, bracelets, watch, etc. from the injured person. If possible, take a photo of the snake.

What not to do: do not cut or burn or suck the bitten area. Do not block the blood vessels with a tourniquet. Do not put ice on the bite site, do not sterilize the spot with alcohol, do not let the injured person drink hot liquids or alcohol. Do not try to catch the snake. These guidelines do not replace medical consultation and treatment.

— Noam Kirshenbaum
Editor and Publisher, Nature in Israel

Ancient Roman Arenas (Israel 2017)

From Israel Post. These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017.

Entertainment and sporting events constituted a significant part of the cultural activity in ancient Rome. The city rulers, who coined the phrase “bread and circuses”, distributed free food and built arenas as a way to placate the masses. Roman soldiers and officials brought their customs to every corner of the vast empire and contributed to the dissemination of this culture among local populations. Thus, these arenas became an important part of the urban landscape in Eretz Israel during the Roman Period.

The most common arena was the semi-circular Theater, in which all seats faced the front stage. Every self-respecting city built a theater and overall more than 30 theaters of varying sizes were constructed in Eretz Israel. The theater was adopted from the Greeks who preceded the Roman Period. Dramas, comedies and tragedies were performed in the Greek theaters, but the audiences’ tastes changed and in the Roman Period most of the performances were pantomimes and social satire. Rabbi Abbahu, an amora (Jewish Talmudist) and head of a yeshiva who lived in Caesarea in the 4th century described a satire performance in which actors dressed as animals took the stage as part of a show that mocked Jewish customs. The Jerusalem Talmud features a description of the role of an actor in a pantomime who hires the services of female musicians and dancers, applauds them, dances and plays the cymbals before them.

The elliptic Amphitheater, in which the audience sat around a central stage, was built outside the city. This venue hosted bloody performances, mostly featuring battles between gladiators or men versus animals. The Amphitheater also served as a venue for executions, as those sentenced to death were pitted against wild animals or were forced to fight for their lives in hopeless battles. These brutal shows were well liked by the Romans but not by local residents. Only a few Amphitheaters were discovered in Eretz Israel and these were built in cities where Roman troops were posted, such as Beit She’an, Caesarea and Beit Guvrin. The Jewish Sages, who generally forbade watching these bloody shows, allowed it in unusual circumstances “because shouting saves”: customarily, the audience was given the right to decide whether to kill the warrior who lost the battle, and Jewish spectators could lend their voices against the killing and possibly even save the life of a Jew fighting in the ring.

The Hippodrome (hippos = horse) was also built outside the city and mainly served as a venue for chariot races. The seats were placed along the long sides of the arena. One end had a curved wall and the other had a straight wall where the chariot gates were located. A grand divider decorated with statues and columns was erected in the center of the arena, between the two tracks. The chariots rode around this divider repeatedly during the race. The winning chariot driver got to hold a palm spoon and Sages equated the waving if the lulav during the Sukkoth festival to victory before God.

The Jewish Sages rejected the foreign culture brought to Eretz Israel by the Romans and considered it to be a complete contradiction to Jewish culture. “One may go to synagogues and places of Torah study or one may go to theaters and circuses” (Bereishit Rabbah 67:4). However, the Sages were well aware of what occurred at those entertainment venues and used this reality to illustrate their views to their followers.

Description of the Stamps and Sheet Margins
The illustrations on the stamps, the sheet margins and the cancellation were inspired by mosaics from the Roman Period and by 18th and 19th century works of art describing that period (books, paintings, posters).

Tab illustrations: based on photos by Moshe Rimer (Caesarea); Carole Raddato (Beit Guvrin); Israeltourism (Beit She’an).

Cover: adaptation of a photo by Israeltourism.

Gorny Convent, Ein Karem (Israel-Russia Joint Issue 2017)

From Israel Post. This stamp will be issued December 19, 2017.

Christian tradition calls the village of Ein Karem, located to the west of Jerusalem, the “City of Judea”. The Virgin Mary visited Ein Karem while carrying her unborn child Jesus and according to the New Testament, she met her cousin St. Elizabeth there, while she was also pregnant with her son, John the Baptist. On the hillside above the village there is a large, magnificent gold-domed church which is part of the Russian convent complex that was built in honor of that visit.

Construction of the convent and the church began in the 19th century, initiated by the head of the Russian religious mission to the Holy Land. These buildings reflect the deep Russian religious involvement in Eretz Israel toward the end of the Ottoman Period, when tens of thousands of devout Russians made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land every year.

In 1871, Archimandrite Antonin Kapoustin, head of the Russian religious mission, purchased a large plot of land in Ein Karem with funds contributed by devout businessmen and noblemen. He planned and built a modest church at the center of the complex and invited wealthy women who wished to live out their lives in the Holy Land to build houses there. Those houses were subsequently inherited by the community, thus over time a few dozen buildings were incorporated into the Russian Gorny (“mountainous”) Convent.

In 1910, Leonid Sinzov, one of the heads of the Russian religious mission after Kapoustin, decided to build a new larger and grander church up on the hillside, which he planned to call “The Church of the Holy Trinity”. In order to build the church, Sinzov borrowed large sums of money from various parties. He also expected to receive contributions to complete the construction. But these plans came to an abrupt halt when WWI broke out in 1914. Contact with Russia was severed and the Russian representatives, who were declared to be enemy subjects, were deported to Egypt and construction of the church stopped.

After the war, it was impossible to continue the construction due to significant debts and the severance of ties with the anti-religious Soviet Union. The roofless church stood abandoned for decades, until the early 21st century, when construction recommenced. The church was completed in 2007 and named the “Cathedral of All Russian Saints”. In recent years, this typical Russian-looking church is visited by increasing numbers of tourists and pilgrims and it represents Russia’s deep religious bond to Jerusalem.

Integration into Society (Disabilities) (Israel 2017)

This stamp will be issued December 19, 2017. From Israel Post:

Fifteen percent of the Israeli population, about 1.1 million adults and children, have disabilities. People with disabilities are an essential and integral part of society. It is our civic duty to promote true and full inclusion of disabled people in our society. Integration is a perfect expression of mutual responsibility, Zionism and love of Israel. There are many aspects to integration, but the most crucial is work.

This was the basis of the historic law enacted on January 1, 2017 requiring an equal chance to integrate at least 5% of people with disabilities into every governmental organization of over 100 employees. This law will increase the inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce and further their participation in the decision making process surrounding the people with disabilities, because they will be an integral part of the bodies that make those decisions.

This law places Israel alongside the most enlightened countries in the world, such as the United States, Germany and other Western European countries.

People with disabilities are wonderful employees who are dedicated to their jobs, extremely loyal to the organization, conscientious, anxious to prove themselves and immensely motivated. Technology allows them to overcome any disability, thus disabled employees can fulfill any position, including management.

The State Comptroller determined that the Israeli economy loses five billion NIS annually due to under-representation of people with disabilities in the workforce.

Integration does not have to stem from compassion, benevolence or pity, but rather from the recognition of the significant contribution that people with disabilities make to the State of Israel, to Israeli society and mainly to the growth of the Israeli economy.

Disability is not limiting in any aspect – work, study, relationships and life in general. People with disabilities can do anything, including work and raising a family. We only need to give them the chance! This is the way to make Israeli society healthy and strong! This stamp issue expresses Israel’s recognition of the importance of including people with disabilities in society and promoting their increased involvement in the life of the country; not only as those who receive but also and most importantly as those who want to give, contribute and share their talents with society and country.

—Oren Helman
Founder of the Facebook page “Sicuy Shaveh” (Equal Chance),
promoting integration of people with disabilities into the workplace and society

First Look: 2018 U.S. Stamps

[press release]
U.S. Postal Service Provides a Sneak Peek at Select 2018 Stamps

WASHINGTON — With a new year just around the corner, the U.S. Postal Service is raising the curtain to provide a sneak peek at a portion of its 2018 stamp program.

Icons such as Lena Horne, John Lennon and Sally Ride and will be immortalized on Forever stamps next year. Stunning photographs of America’s dramatic landscapes will commemorate the song “America the Beautiful.”

Other diverse and educational stamps on deck for 2018 will:

  • Shine light on bioluminescent creatures that glow in the dark;
  • Showcase the art of magic through five classic magic tricks;
  • Celebrate mythological fire-eating dragons; and,
  • Offer “tasty” frozen treats for those with a sweet tooth.

Detailed information and issuance dates on these stamps and others will be revealed later. All stamp designs are preliminary and are subject to change until issuance dates.

Details on individual issues:

Love Flourishes (Love series)
Love Flourishes is the latest stamp in the Love series. The stamp art features a fanciful garden of colorful flowers surrounding the word “Love.”

Year of the Dog (Celebrating Lunar New Year series)
The Year of the Dog stamp is the 11th of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Dog begins Feb. 16, 2018, and ends Feb. 4, 2019.

Lena Horne (Black Heritage series)
The 41st issuance in the Black Heritage series honors the achievements of legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne (1917–2010). Remembered as one of America’s great interpreters of popular songs, Horne also was a trailblazer in Hollywood for women of color. She used her personal elegance, charisma and fame to become an important spokesperson for civil rights.

U.S. Flag
For more than half a century, U.S. stamps have depicted the American flag in vivid red, white and blue. This eye-catching new issuance continues that tradition with a striking graphic design of a flag with two crisp folds.

Bioluminescent Life
This issuance celebrates the phenomenon of bioluminescence — the ability of some species to glow — with a pane of 20 stamps featuring 10 life-forms that create their own light.

llinois Statehood (Statehood series)
This stamp celebrates the 200th anniversary of Illinois statehood. Known as the Prairie State, Illinois became the 21st state of the union on Dec. 3, 1818.

Mister Rogers
Fred Rogers (1928–2003) was known as a beloved television neighbor to generations of children. His groundbreaking public television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity and honesty.

STEM Education
These Forever stamps celebrate the role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in keeping our nation a global leader in innovation. Designed to pique the curiosity of the viewer, each of these four stamps features a collage of faces, symbols, drawings and numbers that represent the complexity and interconnectedness of the STEM disciplines.

Sally Ride
America’s first woman in space, Sally Ride (1951–2012), inspired the nation as a pioneering astronaut, brilliant physicist and dedicated educator.

Flag Act of 1818
With this stamp, the Postal Service marks the 200th anniversary of the Flag Act of 1818, which gave us the basic design of the current American flag: 13 stripes symbolizing the original 13 colonies and one star for each state in the union.

Frozen Treats
Frozen Treats features frosty, colorful icy pops on a stick. The tasty, sweet confections come in a variety of shapes and flavors.

O Beautiful
With the release of O Beautiful, the Postal Service commemorates the beauty and majesty of the United States through images that correspond with one of the nation’s most beloved songs, “America the Beautiful.” World War I: Turning the Tide
With this stamp, the Postal Service pays tribute to the sacrifice of American soldiers and millions of supporters on the home front who experienced World War I. Entering World War I (1914–1918) in its later stages, the United States helped turn the tide of war in favor of the Allies.

Dragons
The Postal Service celebrates dragons, the high-flying, fire-breathing mythological creatures that have roamed our imaginations for millennia. Birds in Winter
Birds in Winter celebrates four of winter’s winged beauties: the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), and the red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).

John Lennon (Music Icons series)
The newest stamp in the Music Icons series honors singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940–1980), a rock ’n’ roll hero successful both as a founding member of the Beatles and as a solo artist.

The Art of Magic
The Postal Service celebrates the art of magic with this pane of 20 stamps featuring digital illustrations of five classic tricks magicians use to amaze and delight audiences: a rabbit in a hat (production), a fortune teller using a crystal ball (prediction), a woman floating in the air (levitation), an empty bird cage (vanishing), and a bird emerging from a flower (transformation).

Byodo-In Temple (Priority Mail)
This Priority Mail stamp features a colorful illustration of the Byodo-In Temple, a popular tourist attraction in Hawai‘i.

Sleeping Bear Dunes (Priority Mail Express)
With this Priority Mail Express stamp, the Postal Service celebrates the Sleeping Bear Dunes, a national park in Michigan that takes its name from a Native American legend.

Meyer Lemons
Meyer Lemons is a 2-cent definitive stamp. The stamp art features a whole Meyer lemon next to two wedges of the cut fruit.

[We will have individual pages for each issue shortly. —VSC]

NYC Santa Mail Program Adds Hurricane Victims

[press releases]
Caribbean Letters To Santa Head to NYC

San Juan – Like so many of our neighbors here in the Caribbean, even Santa Claus needs a little help this year after the hurricanes.

The New York City-based OPERATION SANTA program is in its 105th year of operation. Operation Santa is an annual letter-writing program for individuals, businesses and charitable organizations to respond to children’s letters addressed to Santa Claus, the North Pole and other seasonal characters. While there are no promises that all letters will receive a response, many New Yorkers return to read letters and to respond to wishes.

The process is strictly monitored. No names are shared. Those who write letters, and those who respond, remain strictly anonymous. All items for shipping must be deposited with the Main Post Office in Manhattan, the only location which will have that mailing address.

All letters to Santa from Caribbean addresses collected through December 13 are being added to the New York program for consideration. Letters may be presented at local post offices or addressed to OPERATION SANTA, Postmaster, San Juan PR 00936 for consideration.

Also from the USPS:

Operation Santa

Background
As much as history reveals, the Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago. However, its involvement was made official when in 1912 Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local Postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the ever growing number of letters received every holiday season.

In the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased so much so that the Postal Service extended the same invitation to charitable organizations, community groups and corporations to help respond to children who wrote letters to Santa.

105th Anniversary
This year, 2017, the Postal Service is celebrating the 105th anniversary of the Operation Santa program as it continues to fulfill the dreams of children nationwide. More than one hundred years later, postal employees, volunteers and organizations remain committed to making children’s Christmas wishes come true.
What We Do

The Postal Service has Operation Santa sites in action around the country. In the vast number of locations postal employees respond to the letters by providing a written response signed by Santa, while other Post Offices may work with local schools, municipalities and community groups who volunteer for the joyous task.

Each year, however, in select Post Offices the general public is invited to “adopt” Santa letters. In all locations where the public may adopt letters written to Santa, strict privacy guidelines are in place. Any member of the public choosing to adopt a letter may simply respond in writing or if they choose grant the wish, a decision that is left to the individual.

New York City’s Operation Santa serves as the largest public adoption Post Office in the country. A “Big Apple” tradition that has changed very little since the 1940s and one which continues to thrive in the heart of the Manhattan, much to the delight of those who visit the iconic James A. Farley building.

How to adopt a letter

Privacy guidelines
In 2006, national policy guidelines were created regarding the handling and adoption of letters addressed to Santa. These guidelines were designed to protect the children who wrote to Santa and mandated that individuals wishing to adopt letters must do so in person, present valid photo identification and fill out a form that includes the list of letters being adopted.

In 2009, the Postal Service changed the letter adoption process by redacting or blacking out all reference to the child’s address and assigning the letter a number. Individuals interested in adopting letters go to the post office, select the letter(s) and sign an official form. When the individual has fulfilled the child’s wishes, they return to the same post office with the letter and/or gift for mailing. A postal employee weighs the package and the individual pays for the postage, or a Priority Mail Flat Rate box could be used. Then a postal employee matches the number on the letter with the child’s address, prints and applies a label to the package and readies it for delivery. The individual never has access to the mailing address.
Local Programs

Children of all ages send letters to “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska” every year. Unless these letters contain a complete Alaska address, the letters will remain in the area they were mailed. Where available, these letters are routed to the nearest post office that coordinates responses, often in postal administrative sites like District Offices.

As time and resources permit, these offices help provide a written response to letters bearing a complete return address. While responses are not promised, the Postal Service understands that a letter to Santa is often a child’s first written correspondence. Through this seasonal outreach, the Postal Service helps to promote literacy and letter writing.

2017 Operation Santa Locations

People-Community-Social Responsibility
The Postal Service and its employees play important roles in communities around the nation. Postal employees live in the communities in which they work. Their children attend school there. They actively participate in community business, shop in its stores and patronize local restaurants. It makes perfect sense for postal employees to want to help their fellow citizens, especially during the holiday season.

How To Adopt A Letter From Santa (USPS)

Individual customers and representatives of organizations wanting to adopt a letter must come to a participating Operation Santa Post Office in person. Both individual customers and organizational representatives must fill out the proper PS Forms 6012 (organization), 6012-A (organization record of letter), or 6012-I (individual) and show identification before viewing any letters.

  • For organizations wanting to adopt a letter, please send a representative with correspondence on letterhead from your company/organization authorizing the representative to view the letters on behalf of your company/organization. Your representative must present his or her employee ID and a valid state driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
  • For individuals wanting to adopt a letter, please bring a valid state driver’s license or state-issued ID card.

After completing the forms, you may then read and choose a letter(s). To protect the anonymity of the letter writers, all personal information will be blacked out in the letters you view — no last names, addresses or contact information of any kind will be visible.

Bring your selections to a postal clerk so the clerk can notate which letter(s) you will adopt.

Here is the fun part — you get to be Santa’s helper by fulfilling the wishes of the letter writer.

Once you have fulfilled the wish, you simply bring your wrapped gift(s) back to the same Operation Santa location to mail.

Individuals and organizations will be responsible for paying the postage to mail the gifts to the recipient.

Once you pay the postage, the postal clerks will match your box with the letter writer by using an internal numbering system.

The return address on the box will read “Operation Santa, North Pole.”

Space Weather Handbook DVD Released by ATA

Solar storms that cause bright auroras can also affect people and technology in space and on Earth. The development of the scientific understanding of that Sun-Earth relationship is examined in Space Weather—A Philatelic Journey, a new philatelic handbook published in DVD format by the American Topical Association.

Written by meteorologists Garry Toth and Don Hillger, it contains descriptive text, stamp and cover images, and an extensive and up-to-date checklist. More than 200 pages of detailed information are in .pdf format. The checklist appendices in Excel format are also included.

The handbook will be of interest to collectors of numerous space and weather-related topics.

Garry Toth, MSc, was an operational meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada. His topical interests are weather, climate, space weather and planetary weather.

Don Hillger, PhD, is a satellite meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and holds a cooperative position at Colorado State University. His topical interests include unmanned scientific satellites, weather and climate.

The DVD is $35, or $30 for ATA members, plus $1.50 postage in the U.S. and Canada, or $3 elsewhere. Order from American Topical Association, PO Box 8, Carterville, IL 62918-0008, americantopical@msn.com. Preorders will be taken for a printed book version until Mar. 31, 2018.