Consider what signs and objects are found in a Jewish home
Learn about the role of the mezuzah as a Jewish object.
By the end of the lesson, the children will have recognised objects in the Jewish home and learnt about the importance of the Mezuzah
Jewish Objects / Pictures of them
Mezuzot / Pictures of them
Mezuzah fact Sheet
Siddur Lev Chadash
Activity Option 1: Air dry clay, Mezuzah Text, Clay Mezuzah Picture, ribbon
Activity Option 2: Matchboxes, Mezuzah Text
- Brainstorm: The Jewish Home – Put the class into pairs or small groups and ask each pair to list all the Jewish objects that they can think of that you might find in a Jewish home. List all the objects on the board and add any other objects that you feel should be added.
- The Objects in a Jewish Home – Show the children a selection of objects that might be found in the Jewish Home, e.g. Shabbat candles, challah cloth, kiddush cup, siddur, tallit, kippah, chanukiah, seder plate. Identify each object and its role. Steer the discussion in the direction of the mezuzah – what is a mezuzah and its importance?
- The Mezuzah – Hand out the Mezuzah fact Sheet. Ask the class to find the Shema in the Siddur and also to find the Deuteronomy (Devarim) references. Explain that the reference to the doorposts of your house and upon your gates is derived from the first Passover when the Israelites marked their doors with lamb’s blood so that the Angel of Death would pass over them. This was the first visible sign of Jewish identification. Do they think it is important to show the outside world that your home is Jewish? What are the benefits? Are there any disadvantages?
- The Mezuzah– Discuss the mezuzot they have seen. What were the decorations on the case like? Was there a Hebrew letter on any of them?
- Option 1: Make a Clay Mezuzah – Give the children some air drying clay and ask them to make a mezuzah case. Make sure it has a hole at each end so it can be nailed to the wall and that there is an opening to put in the mezuzah text. (See picture in resources). Encourage children to decorate their mezuzah with a shin on the outside. Give each child a copy of the Shema (mezuzah text in the resources) or to write it themselves. Children to roll it up and tie with a ribbon to be placed inside their mezuzah when it is dry.
- Option 2: Make a Matchbox Mezuzah – Same as activity option 1, but children to make a mezuzah out of a matchbox (or similar). Children to cover the box in paper and decorate with the shin in any style they wish. Children to add the Shema text or write it themselves.
- Option 3: Create a Jewish Objects Fact File – Children to draw pictures of the different Jewish objects that may be found in the home. They should label and write a description of each object. Think about the audience; could be for younger children or non-Jewish friends.
- Fixing the Mezuzah – Fix (temporarily if necessary) one of the mezuzot made during the lesson, or one of the synagogue mezuzot to one of the classroom doors. Read the service for Consecration of a House on pages 601-603 from Siddur Lev Chadash and ask the children to add their own blessings. If possible, invite the Rabbi to lead this service.