gary rosenthal mezuzah

Mezuzahs, Hurricane Sandy and Artist Gary Rosenthal

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.


Belmont Village gives mezuzah to residents

Belmont Village Gives the Gift of A Mezuzah

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.

cave of machpelah

Cave of Machpelah Mezuzah Vandalized Yet Again.

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.machpelah mezuzah vandalized

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.


hannukah mezuzah gift ideas

Hanukkah Mezuzah Gift Ideas

As the days grow steadily shorter, and the weather outside gets colder each day, the frosty wind tells of coming winter, and whispers it’s annual warning to all; “prepare yourselves… because the holidays will soon be here and you gotta make sure you’ve picked out gifts for all your family and friends!”

As the gifting gurus among you already know, this can often be more difficult then it sounds. Finding the perfect gift for each recipient year after year can be a challenge, which is why we at Mezuzah Master thought we would try and help out, with a few gift Mezuzah ideas for the upcoming holdiays.

The Case for a Mezuzah:

Why give a Mezuzah as a holiday gift? Simple. A Mezuzah, by it’s very nature, is truly a gift that keeps on giving. The spiritual (and in some cases even physical) protective properties of the Mezuzah (when containing the appropriate kosher Mezuzah scroll) are well documented throughout classic Jewish literature and the Mezuzah therefore serves not only as a beautiful decorative ornament but as a powerful safeguard for the recipient as well. As an added bonus, the lucky recipient will likely notice it on a daily basis and think of you every time they leave or enter through the door to which it is affixed, and each time they do, they may be reminded of you and your thoughtful Hanukkah gift (and perhaps be inspired to return the gesture with a thoughtful gift of their own, hey… just sayin…).

Ideas for Potential Mezuzah Gifts:

The Shema Polished Jerusalem Stone Mezuzah by CaesareaShema Polished Jerusalem Stone Mezuzah :

Made in Israel, this particular Mezuzah Case is made of natural Jerusalem stone. It had been specially treated in order to recreate the feeling of weathered stone, still found today in archeological excavation at sites that date back to biblical times. It has been decorated with an original graphic design inspired by ancient ethnic motifs from the region. The perfect gift for that friend or family member who’s passion for the holy-land is second only to his passion for freshly baked potato Latkes.



The Iridescent Sectional Star of David Mezuzah by Susan Fullenbaum:Iridescent Sectional Star of David Mezuzah

The Iridescent Sectional Star of David Mezuzah by Susan Fullenbaum is both serious and whimsical. Ubiquitous and universal the Star of David immediately speaks to any member of the Jewish faith, and the soft, elegant colors of this particular Mezuzah are sure to engender feelings of warmth, joy and holiday spirit.



Feel free to check out our site for hundreds of other Mezuzah gift ideas.

A 70th ‘Brick’ Anniversary

Warsaw Mezuzah

Warsaw Mezuzah

A new Jewish museum is scheduled to open this Friday in Warsaw, Poland. It will be taking place on the 70th anniversary of the ill-fated ghetto uprising where a few hundred heroic Jews took up arms against the occupying Germans. Poland was home to a thriving Jewish presence for over one thousand years.

A mezuzah made of brick taken from one of the foundations at the site will be affixed to the doorway at the dedication. Needless to say, this museum was not in the ‘Final Solution,’ and “It is a sign of the revival of the Jewish world,” says deputy director Z. Stepinski.


A Possible Hate Crime?

Hate Crime

Hate Crime

No.  A Love Crime!  Oh puleeeeeese!   Eleven mezuzahs were torched (not accidentally) on the outside doorposts of Jewish apartments in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York on April 7th.  This date just happens to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day which recalls the millions of Jews exterminated during the Nazi regime in Europe during World War II.

Sources at the NYPD report that they are investigating this incident as a ‘possible’ bias or hate crime.  It seems that Anti-Semitism is still rearing its ugly head. At least those who continue to be bothered by the tenacious existence of the pesky Jews took out their frustration on their mezuzahs this time.

Where in the World?

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea?  Where in the world is that? This corner of the globe lies in a very remote part of Africa which some say, upon setting foot there, feels like a moon landing. This territory was, in olden times, a poverty ridden Spanish colony in the port city of Bata.

But have no fear.  The La Paz Medical Center, a state-of-the art hospital in this foreign terrain, has an authentic, kosher mezuzah on its front door, thanks to Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila of Chabad of Central Africa.

Much appreciation goes to Yardena Ovadia, an Israeli businesswoman who maintains a working relationship with the president of the city, Teodoro Obiang. Her generous support has helped to see this project through to completion.  Additionally, the many Israeli staff members working on the premises say the mezuzah on the door makes them feel like they are at home!


You Can Keep Your Faith Here

the common good

the common good

Providence Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California, a Catholic-run facility, was the first San Fernando Valley hospital to hang mezuzahs in all patient areas, even though only 20 to 25 per cent of the patient population is Jewish!

“Our patients do not have to check their faith at the door,” according to Shawn Kiley, director of mission leadership. “Now that this is a Catholic-run hospital, those who are Jewish can celebrate their faith even more than before.”

As of March 2010, over 270 mezuzah scrolls, each encased in sleek copper-toned tubing, were hung in all patient rooms and public areas. This institution, together with Chabad of the Valley, is developing a new program to deal with drug and alcohol addiction. This truly awesome partnership is clearly for the common good. The evidence is visible on every doorpost!



Good Jewish Homes Needed

sample art

sample art

Temple Beth El in Quincy, Massachusetts is looking for a few good Jewish homes for its fine arts and Judaica collection.  Sadly, this synagogue is closing its doors due to the shrinking numbers of the Jewish population in the town and its environs.

A silver candelabrum, colorful mosaics, woven tapestries, silver crowns for Torah scrolls, and intricate mezuzahs are for sale.  Ed Gurwitch, a spokesman for those involved in the sale, says that a portion of the money collected will potentially help to fund grants for young people enabling them to travel to Israel.

Well, there is always a silver lining to every cloud, and something good can come out of every event. So, I guess you could say, it’ll all be okay.


A New Custom at Customs

Customs Depot

Customs Depot

Ben Gurion Airport in Israel had mezuzahs put up at the new customs inspection depot during the week of January 20th. Customs workers, headed by manger Raphael Gabbai , made sure that a kosher mezuzah was put in every single doorway,  not  just on the main entrance.

Rabbi Yaakov Glauberman gave his blessings and spoke about the importance of the mezuzah as Divine protection of both persons and property.  It seems that Israeli officials want to cover all of their bases. More power to them!