If you’ve got any mail that you’ve been waiting to send, or if you want to get your Hanukkah holiday cards ready extra early this year, this may be the best incentive to get out to your local post office: New Ruth Bader Ginsburg Forever stamps are here!
The stamps, which were announced last year, are currently available for purchase at your local post office or on USPS.c0m. The stamp is $0.66, and will retain its value, well, forever. It came out this Monday in honor of the Supreme Court’s new term and a little over two weeks after the three-year anniversary of Ginsburg’s death, on Rosh Hashanah of 2020.
The design features a stark and regal painting of the justice. Jewish USPS art director Ethel Kessler directed the stamp based on a photo of the Justice by portrait photographer Philip Berminghan.
Berminghan said he knew he had gotten the right shot of the feminist icon and Brooklyn-native because of “the eye contact. Look at those eyes – it’s like you’re looking into a soul.” The evocative picture was then turned into a vibrant painting by artist Michael J. Deas, who brought out the blue in the justice’s eyes, the fierceness of her expression and the brightness of her smile. He changed her jabot to one of her favorite ones, made out of white crochet, which she acquired in South Africa. She wore the jabot on special occasions, including to Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address and her 20th anniversary sitting on the SCOTUS bench.
This isn’t the first stamp of a Jewish justice that Kessler has art directed — back in 2009, the Kessler design group worked on a series four stamps of Supreme Court Justices, two of which were of Jewish judges Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter.
Kessler, who started art directing USPS’s stamps back 1998, inaugurating the postal service’s first charity stamp for breast cancer research, has also been responsible for many of the Hanukkah stamps we’ve seen throughout the years. Back in 2022, Kessler told the Unorthodox podcast how honored she was as a Jewish woman to design USPS’s Hanukkah stamps — the same stamps her friends used for sending out letters and packages during the holidays.
“I like to think of myself as functioning in stamp design the way Steven Spielberg functions in his movies,” Kessler told JWI in 2016. “He’s not the cinematographer or the set designer, but his vision for the movie is unique to him.”
If you’re looking for more great Jewish American heroes on stamps, the postal service has released a series of Forever stamps based on Jewish artist Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings earlier this year.