February 14th, 2014
This post is dedicated to the creativity and at times astonishing ingenuity of the human spirit. I have always believed that one of the most powerful modes of self expressions lies in our soul-driven ability to see the innate and permeating beauty that is inherent in all things. This inspiring, creative force has helped turned subway cars and ghetto walls into stunning, haunting mosaics, designed and re-designed cars, fashion and the trinkets and baubles that so uniquely color the sounds and textures of our era.
The Mezuzah cases pictured below are wonderful examples of this re-creative spirit at work. They are truly a unique and, well… different interpretation of the classic, traditional Mezuzah style. Don’t get me wrong, to the inspired re-creators of the world, we applaud your work and we cherish your contributions to society, but every now and then even the best of us are bound to get a little carried away… Read more »
February 5th, 2014
Ok, I know what your thinking, “Mezuzah and Valentine in the same sentence? that cant be right?”, but bear with me here for a second as I attempt to make the case for Mezuzah pendants as this years top-of-the-list Valentines Day gift.
Let’s begin by examining two of the most popular Valentines Day gift choices, the ubiquitous dozen red roses, and the inimitable heart shaped box of heart shaped chocolates, both timeless, classic expressions of valentinia (not a word you say? is now!). However, both possess a fatal flaw that may compromise their long term affection-expressing potential, namely, they are both perishable. Chocolates, while tasty and euphoria inducing when eaten, are gone quickly (I would venture to guess that most boxes don’t last the day) and in some cases the mindless devouring may even be regretted soon after, and Roses, no matter how breathtakingly stunning, simply don’t last more than a week or two.
So this year why not think outside the chocolate box a little, and consider something beautiful, unique, thoughtful and (best of all) non-perishable. Can’t think of anything? We invite you to take a look at our collection of hand crafted Mezuzah Pendants, each a unique work of art and the perfect gift to express your feelings for your significant other as the Mezuzah traditionally symbolizes peace, security and domestic harmony.
Just a thought…
January 30th, 2014
In this new blog-series covering the laws, customs and rigorous traditional standards that are involved in the writing, crafting and proper placement of a Kosher Mezuzah, we will attempt to break down the basics of this extensive topic and we hope to be able to give you the reader, a slightly better understanding of the spiritual components of the Mezuzah and to perhaps shed some light on the mystical makeup of this small, ancient and infinitely powerful artifact.
The bulk of the Mezuzah’s protective spiritual energy resides in the small piece of rolled up parchment that is placed within the outer Mezuzah case. The scrolls are the heart and soul of the Mezuzah, much like the engine of car, or the roots of a tree, unseen yet integral. So much so in fact that in 1988 the state of New York passed a law prohibiting the sale of Mezuzah scrolls which, to the seller’s knowledge, do not satisfy orthodox Hebrew ritual requirements as kosher.
True mastery of all the laws and customs involved in the writing of a Kosher Mezuzah Scroll would require years of study and untold hours of training as a religious scribe. From the handmade parchment to the 713 handwritten letters, to the numerous pre-sale inspections, a Mezuzah is closer kin to a delicate work of art than it is to the average transcription.
So stay tuned for the next installment as our journey begins with some historical perspective.
See you next time!
January 23rd, 2014
Reddit User ’booradius’ Finds Mezuzah And Respectfully Asks Advice of Online Jewish Community
It’s not everyday that you hear the word Mezuzah associated with the popular social and entertainment website ‘reddit’, however, thanks to the admirable efforts of reddit user ‘booradius’, in his attempt to find the most respectful way of removing a mezuzah he found on a house, left behind by a previous tenant, the following discussion took place.
The online Jewish community was touched by booradius’ respect for their sacred artifact, applauding the Reddit user for his deference and care.
A mezuzah is a parchment scroll often encased in a small decorative case, on which the Shema prayer is handwritten by a scribe. They are often affixed to the door posts of a Jewish home, for a protective purpose.
So on behalf of mezuzah master and the global jewish community we thank you, booradius, for your respect, courtesy and for showing the world how the Internet can indeed be used for good.
January 17th, 2014
Famous among the local New York Jewish communities for his part in the foiled Riverdale synagogue bombing attempt, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly has been a tireless advocate for community safety throughout his 12 years in office.
During Kelly’s reign as commissioner, the city’s police force has forged strong ties both within the Jewish community at home and the Israeli community abroad. Last November, the Anti Defamation League honored Thomas Galati, the top-ranking officer for the NYPD’s intelligence division. An ADL press release at the time noted that Galati had “traveled to Israel with other senior police officials from the Northeast to attend a counter-terrorism training seminar sponsored by ADL.” Furthermore, the first Associated Press report on the city’s counter-terrorism measures noted that NYPD’s program was “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”
So Kelly reached out to his Jewish allies and even sought to enhance the NYPD, and the Jewish community’s safety, by educating himself on policies that have worked in Israel.
At a recent dinner held by Jewish city officials in honor of Kelly, the commissioner was presented with a plaque containing a large silver Mezuzah, the Jewish symbol for heavenly protection.
“You have kept us and our families safe for the last 12 years,” said Simcha Felder, a former city councilman who worked closely with Kelly. “We thank you for your service, and present this Mezuzah — a symbol of protection and safety — to you as a token of our appreciation.” Read more »
January 9th, 2014
A Mezuzah, like any other religious artifact or work of art, is representative of so much more than it’s mere physical form. In our case, the Mezuzahs, as well as the scribe-written parchment of ancient biblical text it contains, are of a truly sublime, even transcendental nature in any form and when these Mezuzot are hand crafted in the holy land of Israel well, that added element lends a whole new, powerful dimension of spiritual potency indeed.
Here at Mezuzah Master we stock a full range of Made In Israel Mezuzahs, and in these Made In Israel blog-posts I will endeavor to highlight and share a few thoughts regarding a particular, individual Mezuzah in our Made In Israel Collection.
Drawing it’s primary influence from the cylindrical shape of the Qumram scrolls (Dead Sea scrolls), The Shema Etched in Glass Mezuzah by Michael Kupietzky (pictured here) is the perfect example of the Mezuzah’s embodiment of our religious ideals, commitment and the rich, diverse history of our collective people.
The silverplate tops and bottoms are representative of the tops of the jars that held the original scrolls. The glass cylinder is etched with the words from the parchment contained inside the jar.
Each is signed by the artist. Michael Kupietzky was born in the United States, but now resides in Israel with his family. Each of his creations follows the Bauhaus philosophy that “form follows function”.
This Mezuzah case carries the entire Shema prayer, which is intricately engraved to form black letters on matte-finished glass.
December 9th, 2013
Dave Barry said it best when he said: “The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter.”, but one potential advantage of the fact that the football season is usually kicking into higher gear right around this time each year, is that it makes these sports themed mezuzahs the perfect seasonal gift for any occasion, be it a bar mitzvah, birthday party, housewarming party or any of the other gift-warranting opportunities.
The iconic blending of worlds inherent in these designs makes it an ideal gift appropriate for a wide variation of occasions.
December 6th, 2013
Long Island N.Y. was one of the few stretches of northeast coastline that bore the brunt of last years infamous “Superstorm” Sandy, a titanic uber-hurricane that pounded the New York-New Jersey area. Today, little more than a year later, there are still a number of communities in some of the harder-hit areas that are struggling to recover and rebuild.
As the Jewish holiday of Hannukah approached, Congregation B’nai Israel of St. Petersburg FL. began preparing special gifts for one of those Long Island Synagogues that had been destroyed. Under the guidance and direction of renowned sculptor and artist Gary Rosenthal, each child of the B’nai Israel Congregation made a unique Mezuzah case to be presented as a Hannukah gift to Temple Israel of South Merrick, on behalf of the St. Petersburg Community.
Rabbi Jacob Luski of Congregation B’nai Israel explains that these Mezuzah cases, each containing a kosher mezuzah scroll inscribed by hand with an ancient Hebrew text, are an apt correlation to Hanukkah, with its central theme of freedom and Jewish identity. Hanukkah, otherwise referred known as the “Festival of Lights”, commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after its recapture from the Syrian-Greek oppressors who had forbidden Jews to practice their faith.
Rosenthal, based in the Washington, D.C.,-area, was resident artist at the St. Petersburg congregation’s annual gift and craft show, held last month. Rosenthal held an artist’s workshop for the synagogue’s students, each of whom received two free mezuzah kits, one to make for the Long Island synagogue, and another to keep.
December 4th, 2013
Belmont Village in Scottsdale AZ gave its Jewish residents a Hanukkah gift that keeps on giving: Mezuzahs for their doorposts. Residents were presented with traditional ornate Mezuzahs at a dinner party celebrating the first night of Hanukkah that also included Latkes, Matzah ball soup and a menorah lighting. Bernie Makowsky told the story of Hanukkah after the blessing over the candles.
Rabbi Mendy Levertov of Chabad of North Phoenix planned to return to Belmont Village the following week to assist residents who want to affix a Mezuzah on their doorpost.
Levertov’s wife, Leah, and their children also planned to add to the celebration by singing Hanukkah songs.
Belmont Village, which has 138 apartments, opened in February of this year and approximately 25 percent of its residents are Jewish, according to Executive Director Tim Cowen. To ensure residents feel comfortable and share in a sense of community in their new home, Mezuzahs will be provided for all future Jewish residents.
November 29th, 2013
For the second time in less than a month, Muslims tore out a Mezuzah from a door at the sacred and hotly contested Cave of Machpelah, the holy resting place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs.
The vandalism took place at a time when the cave was open only to Muslims. It was documented by security cameras that are operated by Border Police at the holy site.
Police detained several suspects who were near the Mezuzah when it was vandalized.
Security forces assured the Jewish community who frequent the Cave that they would make an effort to step up security during the days in which the Cave is open only to Muslims. These extra measures are intended as a message that vandalism will not be tolerated.
A similar act of desecration took place at the site in mid-July, during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Jewish worshipers who arrived at the Cave of Patriarchs after Muslim prayers on Friday were horrified to find that the site had been vandalized.
Two mezuzot had been torn off and stolen, and a third was damaged. Muslim worshipers have a history of vandalism at the holy site, and it’s not limited to mezuzot, throwing mud, littering garbage and uprooting parts of the cave garden are just a few examples of recent incidents.