Amid Pandemic, Jewish Religious Traditions Packed into DIY Kits

September 10, 2020

 

It's a religious obligation for Jews: affixing a mezuzah on their door post. It's a sign those inside live a Jewish life. 

"These are the mezuzah, which are from Israel, written by scribes. It’s hand-written,“ said the Chabad Mitzvah Society Director Mendy Ceitlin. 

The Chabad Mitzvah Society in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, created these do-it-yourself kits, providing a step-by-step guide for putting up a mezuzah. 

 

"We really wanted to empower every individual, every man, woman, child wherever they are, whatever they're doing to not only own that Judiasm, but feel empowered,” said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, who founded the Chabad Mitzvah Society. 

It's one of several new DIY kits the Chabad Mitzvah Society has created for different aspects of Jewish life. There's "Chanukah in a box," "the Shabbat Experience," and "Seder to go."

The kits made their debut last winter as a way for more Jews to take part in religious life. 

When the coronavirus crisis erupted, keeping many people at home, the demand for the kits surged, especially for Passover.

"In literally two weeks,” said Kotlarsky, “we scaled from 2,500, that we were expecting to serve people that needed it on an ongoing basis, to over 120,000 Seder in a boxes."

Most of the kits cost less than $5. The Mitzvah Society, an arm of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement, subsidizes much of the cost. Now the group is preparing for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Normally, the Jewish high holidays are celebrated communally in synagogues, but that won't be possible for most congregations this year because of the coronavirus.  

“In Judaism.” said Rabbi Kotlarsky. “Community life is very important and we're going to continue building that. But the do-it-yourself at home and turning your own home into a chabad, into a synagogue is just as important."

"We have the exact steps of what to do, when to do it, what blessing to make in English and in Hebrew," he explained.

For those who need guidance about when to light candles or how to post a mezuzah, the Mitzvah Society offers help electronically.   

"If you have any questions, you send a text and the rabbi answers you right away,” said Ceitlan.

The Chabad Mitzvah Society is helping Jews live a more observant life, without having to leave their homes.g to leave their homes.

 

Source: Amid Pandemic, Jewish Religious Traditions Packed into DIY Kits - Spectrum News 1 NY