WHAT IS A "MEZUZAH"?
“Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day…..Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 9)
These Biblical verses have been interpreted for centuries as the requirement to install a mezuzah, a parchment scroll containing two passages from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) on the doors of one’s home. This serves as a physical reminder of our highest values whenever we enter and leave a place that is dear to us.
WHY ARE PAPER SCROLLS INSERTED
INTO OUR “MEZUZAH”?
Participants craft their own creative personal message or artwork about a Guiding Principle onto parchment scrolls that are rolled up and inserted in one of the 613 holes in the “mezuzah.” These represent our community’s collective prayers, dreams, hopes for the future, and the commitment that we make to cherish and uphold our PJCC guiding principles. The practice of inserting a written prayer evokes a similar practice at the Western Wall (the Kotel) in Jerusalem.
WHY ARE THERE 613 HOLES AND SCROLLS IN OUR “MEZUZAH”?
In Jewish tradition, the number 613 symbolically represents all of the mitzvot, (commandments), the system of laws through which one lives a life committed to the highest ideals.
WILL THE REMAINING HOLES BE FILLED?
The PJCC will organize future events to invite more community members to express their wishes and prayers inspired by the PJCC Ikkarim, or Guiding Principles.
For more information on “INSCRIBE” and Jewish Programs at the PJCC, contact:
Guiding Principles Celebration and Art Installation | PJCC
AUGUST 30, 2009
On August 30, 2009, leaders, volunteers, and supporters of the PJCC and our local community were called together to witness the installation of the Center’s five Ikkarim, or Guiding Principles on the pillars outside the front entrance and in the PJCC lobby:
Jewish Life · Welcoming All · Our community of family and friends · Wholeness of body, mind and spirit · Repairing the world
As part of this celebration, Kingsley, a Southern California conceptual artist who designed the PJCC pillar installation, also presented a giant mezuzah (5 feet by 2 feet) that now adorns the PJCC entryway to welcome all. INSCRIBE displays the Hebrew letter Shin, which is the first letter of the text contained in the traditional scroll, set into the right side of the sculpture. INSCRIBE blends ancient and modern practices, values each individual’s contributions to our community, and represents the vibrant, welcoming, and meaningful nature of life at the PJCC.
"And you shall inscribe them upon your doorposts..." and it will be a sign for you always. A sign to remember. To remember to behave with respect and with kindness. A sign to resolve disagreements, to reach compromise. To remember to live your best life in the best way possible.
A six foot interactive sculpture of a mezuzah, vertical grain Douglas Fir, 613 spaces for community inscriptions of prayer, hope and dreams. INSCRIBE, a sign to remember. -- Kingsley
Three Center members and two staff members were honored as being representative of each of the five Guiding Principles: Nat Starr – Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), Eva Chernov Lokey – Chavaya Yehudit (Jewish Life), Lisa Wachtell - Sheleimut (Wholeness of Body), Mind and Spirit, Bob Scott - Hachnasat Orchim (Welcoming All), and Sheila Marx - Kehilla U’mishpacha (Our Community of Family & Friends).