April 16th, 2013
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.
April 9th, 2013
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.
February 26th, 2013
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!
February 17th, 2013
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!
February 10th, 2013
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.
February 4th, 2013
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!
January 6th, 2013
In ancient times it was a Jewish custom recorded in the Mishnah, Talmud, and Midrash to carry a mezuzah in a walking stick for protection. It was used for personal spiritual fortification, and not solely to fulfill the halacha of being affixed to the doorways of buildings where Jews reside.
It is easily understood that a non-kosher mezuzah does not possess any protective qualities. Therefore, when, G-d forbid, someone is sick or there is some other misfortune, the very first move by an observant Jew (after calling 911) is to check the mezuzahs in the house. If some of the mezuzahs turn out to be posul, they get fixed or replaced. This has always been the Jewish custom.
The first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, had a mezuzah near him at all times in fulfillment of the verse, “I have set G-d before me always.” (Psalms XVI, 8) Rebbetzin Chaya Moushka, the wife of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, used to keep a mezuzah in the glove compartment of her car. The Rebbe himself kept a mezuzah on the desk during private audiences. There are many more instances of present- day personal mezuzah usage.
So, if you walk, sit, or drive, (not dive), or just generally hang out somewhere far off the beaten path, it may be time to consider having your own personal mezuzah to keep, just in case………..or in a case. I’m just sayin………………………
January 6th, 2013
no mezuzah here
Boy oh boy, buyer beware! Don’t be a target for an embarrassing scam which will allow you the opportunity to part with your money while you are on a picturesque, once in a lifetime, spiritually uplifting vacation in Fez, Morocco. Yes, you may be carried away by nostalgia, and where better to buy an ancient, authentically oriental Berber mezuzah than in a traditional bazaar.
The unequivocal answer: Not in the art gallery that claims that they have some magnificent samples left from the nomadic Berber Jewish tribe. Since these wandering Jews had no doorposts, they wore their mezuzahs around their necks and around the necks of their camels.
If you are skeptical, you can rest assured that, indeed, your instincts are good. There was never evidence at any time of any personal or camel mezuzahs. But in case you happen to believe their claims, I’ve got a bridge to sell…………………………
January 1st, 2013
wireless security system
When was the first recorded instance of the custom of someone placing a hand on the mezuzah and then kissing it? It is found in the Talmudic account about the famous Roman convert to Judaism, Onkelos. He was doing this as he was being led out of his home by the third set of Caesar’s troops who were sent to capture him, and they asked him what he was doing.
He explained that, “It is the custom of the world that the king sits in the inside of the palace and the guards protect him from the outside. However, with G-d, His servants are inside their homes and He protects them from the outside.”
As with the first two troops, they were inspired by his knowledge and faith, and they converted. Caesar did not send any additional soldiers upon learning of this. You could say that the mezuzah is the first wireless Jewish security system!
December 29th, 2012
While this is not a book club blog, I just had to let you readers know that there is a book out there by the above title disclosing riveting stories of very, very “secret Jews.” In many cases, they were known to each other only by false, misleading, or confusing names, such as the ‘titular talisman’ or by specific clues, like including a Jewish object like a mezuzah in a painting of a Madonna.
The descendants of these secret Jews, the Marranos, are still with us today. These are harrowing firsthand stories of survivors and their rescuers which vividly reveal the secret history of the Jews who found asylum from Hitler’s Final Solution under Franco’s Fascist Regime.
There are times when there is more to something than meets the eye, but there was a time in history when a mezuzah was not meant to be seen by one.