- Audrey Irmas Pavilion
“And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9)
The mitzvah of mezuzah is over twenty-five hundred years old and one of the most beloved and commonly practiced rituals of the Jewish people. A small piece of parchment called a claf, inscribed by an authentic scribe with the sacred words of the Sh'ma and V’ahavta, is placed in a small case and affixed to the right side of the doorposts of our homes and synagogues. Its purpose, according to the Torah, is remind us to love God and follow God’s commandments, but the mezuzah has come to mean so much more than that.
When we see a mezuzah, we understand that Jews live here, pray here, and signals to all who enter that a sense of Jewish identity and a commitment to Jewish values exists here. The mezuzah declares that this a holy place where love, kindness, and compassion are practiced, where Jewish education is prized, and where Jewish traditions are cherished. As we pass through our doorways, the mezuzah is a symbol of something other than ourselves – a watchful eye, inspiring our daily lives, reminding us to bring spirituality and goodness into the world. And according to the Kabbalists, the mezuzah protects the souls of the Jewish people and some say even spare us from physical harm.
Is it any wonder that so many people touch the mezuzah and then kiss their hand as they pass by? While no one is quite sure how this custom began, there are many beautiful explanations. When we place our hand upon the mezuzah, we encounter the unity of God and feel the presence of the Divine. Touching the mezuzah connects us to the Sh'ma and the oneness we feel with all Jews. In touching the mezuzah, we remember to take God along with us, wherever we go. Putting up a mezuzah is not just a mitzvah, it’s a blessing. It inspires us, teaches us and enriches us. And it tells us and the world who we are.
Rabbi Susan Nanus
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, our mezuzot are made with the following technique:
Shin letters are water jet cut out from 2mm aluminium sheet.
Aluminium foam is first cut into the S, M, L dimensions and placed in casting boxes.
They go through a 2-step overcasting process in colour-tinted polyester resin to ensure all surfaces of the aluminium foam is infused, forming a composite material.
Colours for the resin are first mixed in big batches to ensure consistency.
The first casting step (for the bottom surface of the mezuzah) takes half a day to cure, and pieces have to be weighed down on the resin in the casting box to keep them from floating.
The shin letter is attached to the aluminium foam and the second overcasting is poured, and this cast takes around 24 hours to set properly.
Bubbles form in the chemical process when the resin cures, and the casts need to be monitored to ensure the bubbles are removed, or escaped to the surface.
Excess cured resin offset from the aluminium foam is cut, sanded, and milled away, resulting in the final dimension of the mezuzah. The pocket and slot at the back of the mezuzah for the klaf and attachment bracket is then milled into the piece. All surfaces are finished on wet and dry sandpaper to satin-matte. Aluminium brackets that will be cnc milled are then attached to the back.
How our mezuzah is made video link: https://youtu.be/iL4iQemekTo
For more information on how to donate a mezuzah and receive one for your home, please contact Jamie Geller at firstname.lastname@example.org.