I butched it up this morning with drill, hammer and nails to help my parents fix up their new home in Jerusalem. One of the tasks was to replace the Mezuza in the kitchen. As I did so I told my mother about my newest idea – The Mezooza Makeover – adapting the ancient concept of this portal protector to the virtual domain. This coming June Lab/Shul is going to celebrate its first GALA IN NYC with this ritual rebranding as the key theme. We’re sending out the Save the Date note today. Why futz with a classic, my mother wondered – right after taking a photo of me nailing it up. Here’s what I told her:
The mezuza (Hebrew for ‘doorpost’ is up on Jewish door frames for lots of reasons and for many generations. Based on a Biblical instruction it has become a hallmark of Judaic art. There’s sociology – it’s a marker of a Jewish home – sometimes to dangerous ends; There’s mysticism – the sacred object contains God’s name and Biblical verses, and represents a spiritual home-protection system; Or the spiritual-practical: reminding us to pause each time we enter and exit, more mindful of our comings and goings. More pious people kiss mezoozas with fervor or on auto-pilot. It’s kinda sweet.
Lab/Shul is a pop-up congregation and we want to celebrate our first year together by hanging up a mezooza ( thank you for liking my new spelling) on our doorway – but we don’t really have one! So we’re creating a ritual in time instead of in space. On June 17th we’ll come together to co-create the MEZOOZA MAKEOVER ritual, to be activated each time our community gathers. I have no idea what it will be. But it will be a collective vision of love.
But there’s more: this isn’t just about Lab/Shul NYC. More of us worldwide are starting to wonder about ways to make our online lives more sacred and humane, less intrusive, pervasive and frankly addictive. What if our virtual portals included an opt-in Mezooza of sorts – a way to pause as we ‘enter’ or ‘login’ or start a new day with a tiny nod to awareness, intention, a type of virtual kiss?
I want to invite creative types to help us reinvent Mezoozas for the digital age. (official invite coming soon – want to get involved – be in touch!)
This project is in start up mode. And it begins today. For Lab/Shul – the Mezooza Makeover event will be our first annual gala, a launch pad for recharging our ritual reality on a larger scale. For the wider community -I’m hoping this will generate a creative opportunity to take an ancient household object and make it more useful to our modern lives.
Stay tuned. For now – a gentle kiss upon your threshold.