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    What's on a Mezuzah Scroll, Anyway?

    mezuzah scrolls

     

    Pop quiz: which doors in your home should have mezuzah cases? Stumped? We are here to help. Like many things in Judaism (and on Facebook), it's complicated.

    The general rule is that every room except the bathroom needs a mezuzah. But of course, there are exceptions. The doors of dressing rooms and any completely open room without a door doesn't need one either. And if the room is smaller than 36 square feet, aka some NYC apartments, don't bother. Some surprises? Garage doors, sliding glass doors, and french doors are all fair game. 

    kate spade oak street mezuzah


    Why do we hang a mezuzah (plural: mezuzot)?
    It's a fun tradition, one that blesses the home and reminds us every day of our Judaism. The case is a vessel to hold the important scroll, so pick something fun that reflects your style. Something designer or cute for kids or classic or even glitter!

    What is the prayer in the mezuzah?
    The kosher scroll aka klaf, has a verse from the Shema including: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord (is) our God, the Lord is One".  The kosher scrolls are pricey because the words are handwritten by an expert scribe who is trained in the many laws involved in writing a mezuzah. Every letter must be perfect, and even one crack can make the whole scroll invalid.  

     

    On the back of the scroll, it says one form of God's name: Sha-dai which also means "Guardian of the doorways of Israel”. Since Sha-dai begins with the letter shin, that's why many mezuzot are inscribed with a shin. 

    LEGO mezuzah

    How do you hang a mezuzah?
    A mezuzah should be hung on the top third of the right side of the door. Slanted so the top of the mezuzah faces into the room. It's traditional to touch it as you enter the room, and some people kiss their fingers after. 

    Shop Mezuzah Cases

    Shop Kosher Scrolls

    Artist Spotlight: Emily Rosenfeld

    Today we are highlighting one of our favorite jewelry and Judaica designers- Emily Rosenfeld! Her designs are simple, timeless and yet whimsical. She is also the sweetest and we love working with her, so we wanted to know more, and share a little more about Emily with you.

    Shop Emily's Collection here.

    Have you always been an artist? How did you get started?

    I have made jewelry for my whole adult life.  I started during a gap year in college and continued after I graduated as an English major.  Working for other designers not only taught me skills, but it showed me what a creative life looked like.  I wanted to live with that kind of freedom to be myself, create a community and working life all at once.  Three years after graduating, I started my own business, in a murphy bed closet in our tiny, perfect Oakland apartment.

    There are a lot of nature elements in your pieces. What inspires your designs?

    I draw a lot of inspiration from nature, from plants especially; my garden is another very real creative adventure.  But I also draw from textiles, both prints and embroidered designs, patterns I loved since I was young.  Because I studied literature and writing, I am also inspired by the desire to communicate, clearly.  Using words in my work has been very important.  My goal is to make meaningful pieces, whether it is through symbols or language, I want it to resonate.

    How did you get into Judaica?

    My second year in business, I started getting requests from my stores for Judaic jewelry pieces.  My line has always been very graphic, using representational, rather than abstract shapes.  My buyers saw that would lend itself easily to adding Jewish Stars and Chai's which is what I started with.  Being Jewish, they felt comfortable asking.  Those pieces sold well immediately.  Wanting to build on that success and also feeling like I had stumbled into supremely comfortable and welcoming territory, I started to explore possibilities beyond jewelry.  Mezuzot were the first Judaic pieces I designed.  I loved working in a new way, carving wax, rather than only sawing metal.  I loved the meaning and the possibilities.  The response to that first group of three Mezuzot was so strong, it inspired me to keep exploring.  Growing up culturally Jewish, but not practicing, making Judaic art has been a way to learn and explore my faith.

    Any future designs you can share with us?

    That is a tough one.  I usually sit down with my notebook, a pencil and a big eraser with little sense of what is going to happen until something takes shape, usually after a lot of erasing. I will say that I am excited about my new Line Drawn Mezuzot series, and will definitely be adding to that group, as well as to the sculptural ones.  Tzedakah feels so important, especially now, there will be new box designs soon as well. 

    Anything else you'd like to add!

    I feel so lucky to get to do this work.  To be part of people's traditions, to find a place in their homes or as part of what they wear is an honor and something for which I will always feel grateful.

     

    Shop Emily's collection here!

    What's New On ModernTribe

    Penguin Salt and Pepper Shakers by Jonathan Adler. Renowned designer Jonathan Adler creates whimsical ceramic gems that shine with his signature "happy chic" motif. We present to you his Penguin Salt and Pepper Shakers.

    Adler has created some amazing Judaica for the contemporary design customer. Some of our other favorites are the Enamel Menorah, Eve Candleholders, and the Bird Bowls.

    What do penguins have to do with Judaica? Not much. Though when I was a kid I loved penguins...and I still do.


    Craftsman Elephant Mezuzah for a Child. The Craftsman Elephant Mezuzah by Lev Studios introduces a new theme to ModernTribe. This sand-blasted, hand-painted maple wood mezuzah with Swarovski crystals is neo-folk and modern. The delicacy of the woodland motif reveals a cute little elephant and is adorable for a child's doorpost.

    The Craftsman style is a great look for anyone who likes the "urban cottage" feel of primitive home decor in a contemporary setting.

    ModernTribe also carries this youthful look in the Elephant Menorah, Ladybug Mezuzah and Ladybug Tzedakah Box.




    Hip Hop Alef by Swedish Designer Anne-Marie Bernhardt. Since Aleph is my name, you have to know I'd include an aleph/alef product any chance I can! We are very excited to bring you this piece from Anne-Marie Bernhardt´s Jewish Jewelry Collection. Anne-Marie is a jewelry designer, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and educated and living in Stockholm, Sweden. A Swedish Jew designing Jewish jewelry: you'll only find this at ModernTribe!

    The Hip Hop Alef is sterling silver and measures 22 mm x 23 mm (about .9 inches in diameter). It's on a 17" heavy sterling rectangular link chain.

    We also have the pendant on a 20" cable chain.

    Have a great week and Happy Shopping!