Upon Thy Gates, The Elaine K. and Norman Winik Mezuzah Collection arrives at JMOF-FIU from the Oregon Museum of the Jewish People and Center for Holocaust Education in Portland on May 10, 2023. Curated by Kenneth Helphand, the exhibition presents 73 mezuzahs collected by the Winiks that represent a wide range of styles, materials, and Jewish symbols. The mezuzahs were created in places all over the world, including Israel, the United States, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Iran, Italy, Morocco, Poland, and Yemen and date from the late 18th to the 21st century.
A mezuzah (from the Hebrew word for doorpost) is a handwritten scroll containing a prayer which is placed inside a decorative case and affixed to a doorpost in the home. Among the oldest of Jewish traditions, mezuzahs are often associated with the concept of protection, and serve as a constant reminder of God and a symbol of one’s Jewish identity. This tradition and the title of the exhibition come from a mandate in the Torah to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions…and inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” The exhibition is sponsored at JMOF-FIU by John & Jo Sumberg.