Home, Sweet Jewish Home
On kiddush cups and Seder plates: Rabbis share their thoughts
on what helps make a house a Jewish home.
BY SHELLEY KAPNEK ROSENBERG
efore setting foot inside, you
know; this house is different The
symbolic declaration of belong-
ing is proudly displayed, a re-
minder for all within and without
to see. There is a mezuzah on the doorpost;
this is a Jewish home.
The mezuzah is the first seen, and one of the
most important, objects to grace and identify a
Jewish home, but it is by no means the only
one. If people are committed to living a Jewish
life, they will find themselves living a life full of
rituals, says Rabbi Daniel Polish of Temple Beth
El in Bloomfield Hills. Objects used specifi-
cally to enhance those rituals "enrich the ex-
perience and evoke feelings in our souls that
aren't expressed by something pragmatic," he
Ritual objects are a concrete way of showing
one's Jewish identity, explains Rabbi Chaim
Landau of NerTamid in Baltimore. "They bind
you in Jewish practice; actions speak louder
"Creating a Jewish life takes place in one's
actions," echoes Rabbi Daniel Weiner of the
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. "Surround-
ing oneself with Jewish ritual objects sets the
context for a Jewish home."
But merely owning the objects without liv-
ing Jewishly is an empty expression, he says.
'What's in the heart of the individual and what
is expressed through actions is what makes a
"Establishing a home in which Judaism is
practiced connects a husband and wife to Jew-
ish people everywhere in the present and to
the Jewish past," explains Rabbi Irwin Groner
of Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.
Since life" in Hebrew is "chai," which also
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