DIY Mezuzah

Make a Mezuzah with your kid (or a whole class).

A do-it-yourself (DIY) mezuzah is a fun way to spend Jewish time together, and you end up with a ritual object ready to use.

WANT TO MAKE A SCROLL?

See Make a Mezuzah Scroll page for simple, printable templates and instructions on how to create training scrolls (toddlers to teens).

WANT TO MAKE A CASE from “found Materials?”

See these pages for how to make a: LEGO MezuzahGlue Stick MezuzahMatchbox Mezuzah, and Marker Mezuzah.
Want a PEZ dispenser mezuah?  See my article about the why and how of a PEZ -uzah.

A Mezuzah from Scrap / Trash / Found Materials for Free:
First, show your child a variety of mezuzah cases (at a gift shop, a synagogue, online, etc.) and then hunt together for appropriate materials. Anything longer than it is wide is fair game.

Some examples:  empty glue stick, matchbox, toothbrush holder, empty half of a walnut shell, paper cylinder, empty dental floss cylinder, toilet paper tube, cardboard tube from a dry cleaner hanger, fat straw (like the kind in bubble tea), dried-up broad-tipped marker (with insides pulled out), four large craft sticks (aka popsicle sticks) glued together to form a rectangular prism, flexible and rigid plastic tubing, PVC pipe, small toothpaste boxes, empty lipbalm tube, and so on.

BUT FIRST, WHAT IS A MEZUZAH?
A SCROLL OR A CASE?

A mezuzah is really the scroll inside a mezuzah case: a klaf, or piece of kosher parchment upon which a sofer—scribe—has written (special ink, special quill) the first two passages of the Shema, Judaism’s central prayer.  The Shema is comprised of key verses from Deuteronomy (6:9 and 11:13-21), and begins, “Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”

Mezuzah literally means “doorpost,” and it is on our doorposts that Jews are obliged to mount a mezuzah. Doing so is a mitzvah—a commandment—and, what a coincidence, it is a biblical commandment found in the Shema itself: “you shall inscribe them [these words] on the doorposts of your home.”

So, every Jewish home, or to be more inclusive, every home in which someone identifies as Jewish, needs a mezuzah on the doorposts. Home in Hebew is bayit, and the home of a mezuzah—the case—is called a beit mezuzah, or mezuzah home.  A beit mezuzah can be made out of just about any material that protects the scroll.

When we enter a room with a mezuzah on the doorpost, we touch the case and bring our fingers to our lips (or vice versa, depending on custom).  This is a physical connection to the symbolic meanings of the words inside.

Kids, however, miss out on this gesture. They aren’t tall enough to reach a mezuzah that is properly hung.  Making a mezuzah and hanging it within reach of your child means they can participate, too. *

Making a mezuzah case as pretty as you are able bags yet another commandment: hiddur mitzvah, which means beautifying the mitzvah.  Of course, the beauty of a child-crafted product will be in the eye of the beholder. Just remember the process can be beautiful, too.

See this link at MyJewishLearning.com for the intriguing particulars about mezuzahs: why, where and how to hang, etc.  (Technically, it goes on the right-hand side of a door as one enters, and in the lower part of the top third.)  Here’s their funky cartoon video about how to mount them, too.

*If you already have kosher mezuzot hanging from every doorpost, you may still mount child-crafted, “training” mezuzot within reach of the youngest member of the family. Temporary mounting options include poster putty, foam tape, masking tapes.

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