Mezuzahs: What’s on the Door?

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What is a mezuzah? This booklet will let you know!

While the word might not be known, many people have seen “boxes” — small, slender boxes or tubes — on doorposts of homes. Perhaps you’ve seen them in your neighborhood, or maybe on TV or in a movie, on the doors of homes were Jews live. That box is called a mezuzah which means “doorpost” in Hebrew. The mezuzah, established in biblical times, contains biblical verses in Hebrew. But what is their purpose?

Every family yearns to make their home special — a retreat from the pressures of school and work, a sanctuary of ethical behavior, a haven where one is always welcomed. Since the time of the Bible, Jews have expressed this desire for home to be a sanctuary by hanging a mezuzah on their doorposts.

In every land, each new generation has created new forms for the slender box containing the biblical text and embellishing them to express their own style. Personalizing and adapting the style of mezuzot (plural of mezuzah) has made it one of the longest continually practiced rituals of Judaism.

This colorful booklet explains the meaning behind the mezuzah, includes instructions for making a mezuzah and for hanging one. There are also suggestions for a short ceremony to inaugurate a new home or to celebrate its Jewishness.