The Stamp of Invisibility

Posted on by Rabbi Barbara Symons

I love going to the post office and go often. In fact, over the past few months, mailing packages to our kids and mothers has brought me out of the house more than any other activity.

I was at the post office days before Chanukah and, as usual, approached the self-service portal. I took  care of my business to the background mantra of the friendly workers wishing each customer “Merry Christmas.” Some were the regulars, it seemed, and others were not. I imagine that not everyone celebrated Christmas.

As I finished my business, I decided to purchase some stamps which can also be done at the portal as I knew from doing it so often. I entered the number of sheets of stamps and was shown the image of the stamp. Much to my surprise, it was not the forever stamp with the American flag on it as it was every other time I had purchased them. It was a Christmas stamp. I finished my transaction feeling a little more invisible and left without purchasing the stamps.

I am not against Christmas stamps as I have been using my Chanukah stamps to mail Chanukah cards, bill payments and more. However, at a public kiosk with only one choice of stamp, I felt that non-Christian Americans like me were “othered.”

It was a small taste of what others experience daily in varying contexts and I can only hope that my few minutes of invisibility will encourage me to keep my ears and eyes open and refuel my empathy and response. In the meantime, I contacted the United States Postal Service to share my concerns.  We’ll see what next year brings.

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