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Mike King of Scottsburg, Ind., says his family would be crestfallen if a 20-year tradition of Bethlehem’s special stamp featuring the three wise men following the star of Bethlehem ends.

Even if the closings happen, holiday mailers can still get special postmarks from places like North Pole, N.Y., and Santa Claus, Ind.

FLORIDA

Rabbi to become Army chaplain

WEST PALM BEACH | An Orthodox Jewish rabbi who was barred from serving as an Army chaplain because he refused to shave the beard required by his faith has won his legal fight against the military and will be sworn in Friday.

Rabbi Menachem Stern of Brooklyn will be officially admitted to the chaplaincy in a ceremony at the Shul Jewish Community Center in Surfside, Fla. Mr. Stern is a member of the Chabad Lubavitch movement of Judaism, whose rabbis are prohibited from shaving their beards.

“I felt this was my calling,” Mr. Stern said of the chaplaincy.

The rabbi saw an advertisement in late 2008 for military chaplains and attended a recruiter’s presentation. After consulting with his wife, he decided to apply in January 2009, making clear in his application he intended to keep his beard.

Some Orthodox Jews don’t shave, believing a passage in Leviticus - “Do not clip your hair at the temples, nor trim the edges of your beard” - specifically outlaws it.

KANSAS

Diamond dropped into Salvation Army kettle

SHAWNEE | The Salvation Army is trying to put a price on an unusual item dropped into one of its red kettles; namely, a diamond.

Salvation Army business manager Richard Natividad told KCTV that the diamond turned up amid the cash donated outside a Wal-Mart in the Kansas City suburb of Shawnee.

Mr. Natividad says he and other workers were counting the cash when they came across a balled-up piece of paper. He almost threw it out, thinking it was trash, but opened the paper to discover the diamond inside.

Mr. Natividad estimates the diamond is nearly a carat, but he’d like to get it appraised. He says one appraiser wanted $75 for the service. The Salvation Army hopes that someone will offer to appraise it for free.

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