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Mezuzah as a Symbol

Abstract

One of the most widely practiced customs among Jews across the globe is the affixing of a mezuzah to their doorpost/s.  What are the origins of this ritual and why is it such a beloved tradition? In this resource, learners will study the Torah source for mezuzah (the Shema) as well as classical and contemporary commentaries on its meaning. This lesson comes to life through hands-on activities such as a google hunt for mezuzot across the world and an exploration of the many different designs of mezuzot. Students will personalize the ritual through discussion of the possible role and meanings of mezuzah in the student’s own life and incorporating these reflections into mezuzot of their own designs.

The learner will:

  1. Understand the roles that the ritual of mezuzah has played in Jewish life and in Jewish identity

  2. know the Torah and Rabbinic sources of the ritual, its content and meaning

  3. be able to create a design for a mezuzah that reflects how the mezuzah is a meaningful symbol to them

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

Student handout, computer, projector, art materials for mezuzah designing

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