(March 8, 2022 / JNS) Hillel at Indiana University launched a project to distribute free mezuzah cases on campus as a show of solidarity with the Jewish community against anti-Semitism.
The red mezuzahs, which have a sticker on them that says “I stand with my Jewish friends,” were given to faculty, staff and students. Hundreds have already been put on doorposts all over the school’s Bloomington campus, distributed with pamphlets explaining their religious significance.
“The mezuzah is so significant for college students because when they come to campus, it’s the first time they’re creating a Jewish home—the first time they get to make that choice,” said Rabbi Sue Silberberg, executive director of IU Hillel. “Unfortunately today, it also carries some risk because of anti-Semitism, so it’s been really meaningful and important to Jewish students to see the mezuzahs on campus.”
Mezuzahs have also been placed in the doorways of the Indiana Memorial Union—the school’s student union building—along with a sign that says: “There is no place for hate in our community.”
“The IMU is the community center for the campus, and our mission statement starts with ‘Welcoming all,’ ” said IMU executive director Hank Walter. “This seemed like a great way to symbolically stand up and show the entire campus community they are welcome here.”
Diptanshu Rao, president of the school’s Union Board, added that “campus bodies who are in place to represent student interests are not letting anti-Semitism go unaddressed. We want students to see the mezuzahs and say, ‘Here is a place I can feel comfortable in my identity as a Jew’ and not feel attacked or hated or anything of that sort.”
Those interested in obtaining a mezuzah can email IU Hillel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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