The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 24 March 2012 / 29 Adar I 5772

Mezuzahs on Strange Doors

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

A large silver mezuzah adorns the doorpost of a Supreme Court Justices chambers in Washington D.C. In a recent talk to a thousand participants at the United Jewish Communities International Lion of Judah Conference, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained that this mezuzah and the works of art in her chambers inscribed with a commandment from the Torah translated as "Justice, justice shall you pursue" serve as "ever-present reminders of what judges must do."

To students of American history this may have recalled the legendary gentile journalist Lincoln Steffens who wrote a great deal about Orthodox Jewish immigrants on New Yorks East Side. In the book "Poor Cousins" by Ande Manners, a little-known facet of Steffens is revealed. "To the amusement of his Jewish friends," writes the author, "he had a mezuzah nailed to his office door and fasted on Yom Kippur."

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