Jews have left their mark on every aspect of New York life, but perhaps none are so ubiquitous and tangible as the palm-length encasements attached to countless doorways. So in a city that both savors history and likes to shake things up, it is perhaps inevitable that many of those mezuzas now belong to gentiles.
Each mezuza the word actually refers to the scroll inside, though most people use it to describe the casing as well is a tiny parchment inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah that include “Shema Yisrael,” a prayer central to Judaism: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord Is One.”
Non-Jews, naturally, are not bound by these customs, but many follow them out of deference. Alex Cohen of Borough Park, Brooklyn, who sells, installs and inspects mezuzas under the business name Mezuzah Man, said he had answered calls from non-Jews asking him to remove their mezuzas.
The Old Testament commands Jews to inscribe the words “on the doorposts of your house.” Many Orthodox Jews touch the mezuza upon entering or leaving a home, sometimes accompanying the gesture with a touch to their lips in a simulated kiss.
The Mezuzah case is 24K gold plated bronze, and each one has a replica of Chagall's signature. This product ships in a deluxe gift case with a certificate of authenticity.
We have a number of Mezuzah cases from well-known Israeli artists, including Yair Emanuel, Avner Agayof, Dorit Judaica, Shraga Landesman, and Old Jaffa-based workshop Adina Plastelina.
Many mezuzah cases are also marked with the Hebrew letter ש (Shin), for Shaddai . " כוזו במוכסז כוזו " is a Caesar cipher —a one-letter shift—of the third, fourth, and fifth words of the Shema, "Adonai, Eloheinu, Adonai", "The Lord, our God, the Lord"; it is written on the back of the case, opposite the corresponding words on the front.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us with His mitzvot, and commanded us to affix a mezuzah. Any Jew can recite the blessing, provided they are old enough to understand the significance of the mitzvah.