On the doorpost of every Jewish home rests a mezuzah. Some may think it's a dainty decoration or a good luck charm. Put one up to keep the evil spirits away!
Actually, a mezuzah is a daily reminder – and a public declaration – of Jewish identity and faith.
Though mezuzah literally means "doorpost," it commonly refers to a scroll of parchment containing biblical verses, placed on the doorpost.
The mezuzah recalls the Exodus from Egypt, when the lamb's blood smeared on the doorpost "identified" the Jewish homes that God passed over during the plague of the first born.
From that day forward, the mezuzah has always identified a home as being Jewish. Travelling throughout the world, one can often seek out fellow Jews by looking for a mezuzah on the door. In areas where Jews have been exiled (e.g. Eastern Europe and Middle East countries), many doorposts still bear the mark of a mezuzah removed.
The scroll contains the first two paragraphs of the "Shema" prayer, declaring the oneness of God, and commanding us "to write [these words] on the doorpost of your house and on your gates" (Deut. 6:4-9). The second passage (Deut. 11:13-21) teaches that Jewish destiny, both individually and nationally, depends upon fulfilling God's will.