On the Doorposts of Our New House

As of today, Ari and I have been in our new home in Cambridge for a week. We’re busy setting up, and so far we’ve managed to contain all the unpacked boxes to one room. The rest is looking like a real apartment! We’re quite enjoying the place and the neighborhood…which is fortunate, because besides a video tour of the interior, we weren’t able to visit in person before moving. Oh, the joys of moving during a pandemic.

One of our first goals, and one of the things that makes this apartment really feel like our home, is to put up mezuzot on as many doorways as possible. This apartment has more doorways than our previous one, so we need to collect a few more. As of now we’ve installed five, and I thought I’d share a little of the story behind each one:

On our front door is a mezuzah made for us by our friend Sasha, who is an amazing fused glass artist and educator. The purple and clear shards come from the glasses Ari and broke at the end of our wedding ceremony in August, 2017. It is a beautiful greeting for all who enter the home, as well as a symbol of the joint life Ari and I create inside.
This gorgeous mezuzah was recently gifted to me by the Shabbat morning Torah study group at The Community Synagogue. It’s now on the doorway to our living room, the first internal doorway in the apartment. I love the colors and the mix of materials, and it’s special to me to have a literal piece of Torah from Community in our physical space.
This is another Sasha-style mezuzah, one that I designed under her expert guidance. I cut and glued the pieces of glass in February, 2017, when I stayed with Sasha in L.A. during the initial interviews for my first rabbinic position, and she later fused them in her kiln. Finding a mix of purple and teal pieces that fit together in just the right way was a fun puzzle, and seeing it reminds me that I do enjoy making things with my hands.
This mezuzah is on the doorway to the bedroom, and because that particular doorway doesn’t get a lot of light, we chose for it a mezuzah that is less ornate. This one comes from Ari, and it used to hang in the Manhattan apartment where he lived before we moved together to Port Washington. The Tree of Life symbol holds a special place in my heart, too (GUCI, Community Synagogue).
This last one is on the back door to the apartment, which leads to the stairwell we share with our upstairs neighbors. This mezuzah was also brought by Ari, though we’re not sure of its origin. Acknowledging my irreverence, I think it’s a bit funny: the ornamentation on the letter ש “shin” looks a little like it’s giving the middle finger to anyone who might have something negative to say about our gay Jewish home. (Not our actual neighbors; they couldn’t be lovelier. It’s just my imagination.)

We do have two more mezuzah cases that are not yet on the walls:

This mezuzah is a model of Plum Street Temple, the historic synagogue in Cincinnati where I was fortunate to celebrate many life-cycle events: Consecration, Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, and Ordination. I bought it before leaving Cincinnati three years ago, and it reminds me of home. We just need the scroll to go inside, and then we’ll probably put this one up on the office doorway.
Finally, this is one I received as a Bar Mitzvah gift. I really like the style, but unfortunately it will probably never go on a doorway. The box once broke off the wood backing, and when I glued it back together, I unwittingly glued the cap of the box in place. I have no idea if there’s a kosher scroll inside, and I’m afraid I’ll break it if I try to pry it open. So it will remain a decorative mystery.

That’s all for this week. Now it’s back to unpacking!

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