Rabbi Ezagui Mails Out 1,000 Mezuzos to Families


rabbi-pinchas-ezaguiThe Daytona Beach News Journal reports: A small white box containing a Lucite mezuzah arrived recently in Jeffrey and Valerie Newfield’s mail.¬† Hand-written biblical passages on a parchment scroll were¬†embedded in the Lucite doorpost attachment. According to information with the gift, the mezuzah was to be placed at “doorposts and in your gates,” according to Jewish tradition.The gift from The Esformes Chabad Center, 1079 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, took Jeffrey Newfield by surprise.

“Chabad does a lot of thoughtful things throughout the year — matzos during Passover and menorahs during Hanukkah — and they fit the circumstances, but there isn’t anything specific going on right now,” said Newfield.

His affiliation is not with the Chabad but with Congregation B’nai Torah.

“This was a total surprise — a very pleasant, unexpected surprise — and kind of neat.”

A similar surprise gift was sent to 1,000 families, more than half the Jewish households in Volusia and Flagler counties, said Rabbi Pinchas Ezagui. He estimates there are 1,800 Jewish families in the two counties, but “we don’t have all 1,800 addresses,” he said.

“Campaign Mezuzah 1000,” a $40,000 project, Ezagui said, is to build community spirit.

“I love to dwell on the positive. It produces better fruits. We grow in a more productive way. Let me promote the right things and unite people,” Esagui said. “We are trying to make everybody feel welcome, feel a common thread that unites us.”

Pinchas and Eva Maman, who paid for the mezuzahs, also said they did it as a positive gesture toward uniting the Jewish community, regardless of individual affiliations.

“It’s something my family and I wanted to do — something good for the general Jewish population in Volusia and Flagler counties — and we thank God he gives us the ability,” Pinchas Maman said. “We don’t all have to agree on all things, but this is something we can all agree with.”

Valerie Newfield got the message.

“For me and my husband, a mezuzah is a sign and reminder of the Covenant with God, of our love and commitment and our willingness to create a Jewish household,” she said. “We are members of Congregation B’nai Torah, but … I feel fortunate that Chabad is in our community offering … programs for families and children.”

She said her youngest daughter, Talia, 4, attends Esformes Hebrew Academy, and both Talia and her older daughter, Zoe, 11, participate in Chabad’s Tot Shabbats, Sunday Fundays, Youth Group Club Yalda and Summer Camp Gan Israel.

“I have also enjoyed many of the adult programs that have been offered,” she said.

After school on Friday, the family mounted the mezuzah in an interior doorway, saying a prayer together.

“Your home is now protected by a Mezuzah,” reads a silver shield on the installation instructions in the information flier. “A little humor,” Ezagui said, “like the shield of a security company.”

Response to the project, he said, has been rewarding.

“I got plenty of e-mails, people saying ‘thank you, thank you, thank you,’ ” he said. “And I get calls — and these are people I don’t even know.”

One response came by letter from Jerry Krueger, who thanked the Chabad and “the family who provided the funding for this project. They are blessed,” the letter read.

“I belong to Temple Israel,” Krueger said in a phone interview. “But the Chabad is doing so much good.”

“This is not the average mailer,” Esagui said. “But Jewish people of all beliefs know what a mezuzah is and believe together: God protects me and my family wherever I go.”

{Daytona Beach News Journal/Matzav.com Newscenter}