Jewish mezuzah on doorMy mom and I were asked if we were Jewish by a man who came to our door running for city council. The reason he asked was because on the right side of our doorpost there is a...

Jewish mezuzah on door

My mom and I were asked if we were Jewish by a man who came to our door running for city council. The reason he asked was because on the right side of our doorpost there is a Mezuzah. But that has always been there since we've moved in which was 17 years ago and I actually really like it as well as my family. At first I did not mind that he had asked but for some reason after he left it bothered me. Not because I was offended, of course not, but because I did not feel right that he had asked. If we had a cross there would he have asked if we were Christians? I'm not sure if I'm being paranoid about the whole situation.

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ms-charleston-yawp's profile pic

Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

This was my first thought:

One thing's for sure, sometimes people don't think before they speak, like the man who came to your door.  He was probably knocking on all kinds of doors that day, . . . and this one had something interesting to ask about.  You, who probably didn't ponder for hours the fact of all his mundane door-knocking (I sure wouldn't have), considered the question strange.  I would guess that the man didn't give it a second thought.

And after reading your last reply (#9):

The idea that a city council member would alienate someone based on their religion absolutely disgusts me.  What kind of city council member is that?!?  I'm afraid the evidence has built up against this man, . . . and God bless you for your amazing instinct!!!  Let's hope he didn't win the election!!!

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Interesting post. I have to tell you a story.  It is a crazy story, but a true one.

I have some friends who are practicing Wiccans. They are excellent craftspersons, so when they built their home, they did a tile inlay pentagram in the floor of their livingroom.  It was absolutely gorgeous. When I visited them, it was just pretty artwork...no religious observances occurred during my visits.

So, some time later, they sold their farm and moved away. I knew the people who bought the home.  They were serious "born-again" Christians.  This "religious object" was to them offensive, so they jack-hammered up the tile floor to remove the objectionable religious object.

None of this makes sense to me. But, each person has their own unique needs regarding religious objects and their ritual associations.

If you like the mezuzah, keep it.  I have one because it was a gift from a Jewish friend. And, it is on my doorpost. The scriptures inside are written in Hebrew.  Each time I pass it, I think of my friend. It is an encouragement to me.  I have other religious articles in my home that were gifts from people.

If the mezuzah bothers you, then give it to someone who can re-gift it appropriately.  If people ask questions regarding your faith based on the mezuzah, they may be genuinely curious or looking for a connection in order to sell their product.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I, too, think he was just trying to make a connection, much as I might if I saw someone reading a book I had enjoyed and asked that person if he or she was enjoying the book. It is human to want to connect with others in ways large and small.

My neighborhood is about 40% Jewish, and consists mostly of older homes. So many homes have mezuzahs, and when those homes are sold to people who are not Jewish, the mezuzahs often remain.  Sometimes this is because people do not know what to do with them, sometimes it is because people like them, and sometimes it is because people are afraid to do anything with them. Even our supermarket has a mezuzah!   

Many Jewish homes not only have a mezuzah at the door or doors to the outside, but also in every doorway in the house. Our house had one in every doorway when we bought the house, and since we are Jewish, this was quite convenient for us, a little "extra" when we moved in. 

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afi80fl | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I think Tim is right in that the man was just looking for a way to connect to you when he came to your home.  I personally wouldn't be offended if someone asked me if I were Catholic if they saw me holding a rosary.  People sometimes just have a genuine sense of curiosity about things they may not fully understand. 

Religion is a touchy subject, but by keeping an open mind and a willingness to explain things about your faith to others who may ask, it doesn't have to be a taboo subject.  Respect for your own faith, as well as that of the person with whom you're talking, is key for a successful relgious discussion.  It only gets difficult when people try to proselyte, overzealously evangelize, or prove another's faith wrong.

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spoofy | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

A mezuzah is part of a belief in judisim that G-d protects your home and other spiritual aspects. If you had a cross on your door in sure the man would have assumed you were a Cristian, he was just trying to be friendly and win over your approval.

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nikproject72 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

In reply to #1: This is an interesting story to share and a good question that you ask.  I think I understand your unsettled feelings.  Why should it matter if you are Jewish?  If it had been me, it might have come to my mind as a response to the man, "What difference would it make to the way you see me or treat me if you found out that I was Jewish?"  Others here have responded with the encouragement to give him the benefit of the doubt, anticipating that his question was a harmless way to connect, but with the amount of religious and racial prejudice swirling around our culture and with the way politicians play to particular groups for votes, it could make one wonder if you might be treated differently based on a discovery of your religious affiliation.  I wonder what he would have said if, before you answered his question you would have asked, "What difference does it make to you if I am Jewish?"

Thats exactly how I felt! I love the Mezuzah! I do lots of research on Jewish artifacts and the religion I also have many friends who are Jewish, I'm fasinated by it. In no way am I offended by it and I would never give it away! And maybe he was curious but I suppose with all the religious and racial prejudice going around as lorstaylor said thats why I asked.

And get this.....We told the man that he could put up his sign in our front yard. Then after I came back from a competition out of town he had signs all over the neighborhood except for our house. My neighbors all had them except for our house, now tell me should I give him the benefit of the doubt?

lorstaylor's profile pic

lorstaylor | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Jewish mezuzah on door

My mom and I were asked if we were Jewish by a man who came to our door running for city council. The reason he asked was because on the right side of our doorpost there is a Mezuzah. But that has always been there since we've moved in which was 17 years ago and I actually really like it as well as my family. At first I did not mind that he had asked but for some reason after he left it bothered me. Not because I was offended, of course not, but because I did not feel right that he had asked. If we had a cross there would he have asked if we were Christians? I'm not sure if I'm being paranoid about the whole situation.

This is an interesting story to share and a good question that you ask.  I think I understand your unsettled feelings.  Why should it matter if you are Jewish?  If it had been me, it might have come to my mind as a response to the man, "What difference would it make to the way you see me or treat me if you found out that I was Jewish?"  Others here have responded with the encouragement to give him the benefit of the doubt, anticipating that his question was a harmless way to connect, but with the amount of religious and racial prejudice swirling around our culture and with the way politicians play to particular groups for votes, it could make one wonder if you might be treated differently based on a discovery of your religious affiliation.  I wonder what he would have said if, before you answered his question you would have asked, "What difference does it make to you if I am Jewish?"

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nutshell | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

You're not being paranoid.  He was probably just trying to gain favor--if you were Jewish--by showing that he knows about the ritual objects (it's not ritual, actually, it's a commandment; but w/e).

 

If the parchment is still on the inside, it would be appropriate for you to give to a Rabbi so that he may find use for it, or dispose of it properly.  If there is no scroll on the inside and it's just the casing, it's not a big deal, unless the casing has G-d's name on it, which I doubt it does.

 

-TiM

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