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RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS

The display of religious symbols by owners can be regulated by associations. Boards must be reasonable in their approach to the subject. Large displays may be prohibited but small ones that are not intrusive should be permitted.

Mezuzah. The mezuzah (Hebrew for doorpost)  is a small rectangular case (made out of metal, stone, wood, glass, or ceramics), which Jews attach to the doorpost of their homes. It is placed on the right side, upper third of the doorpost. This is usually done within 30 days of moving into a new home and  signifies the sanctity and blessing of the Jewish home. The mezuzah contains a piece of parchment rolled into a scroll, which has a prayer in Hebrew, such as:

Deuteronomy, 6:4-9: Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources. And these things that I command you today shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you go on the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm and they shall be an ornament between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy, 11:13-21: And it will be that if you hearken to my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord, your God, and to serve him with all your hearts and all your souls. And I will place rain for your land in its proper time, the early and the late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil. And I will provide grass in your field for your cattle, and you will eat and you will be satisfied. Watch yourselves, lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve other gods, and prostrate yourselves to them. And the wrath of God will be upon you, and he will restrain the heaven and there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield its produce, and you will be lost quickly from upon the good land that God gives you. And you shall place these words of mine on your hearts and on your souls, and you shall bind them as a sign upon your arms and they shall be ornaments between your eyes. And you shall teach them to your children to discuss them, when you sit in your house and when you go on the way, and when you lie down and when rise up. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, in order to prolong your days and the days of your children upon the good land that God swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of Heaven over earth.

Banning Mezuzahs. Attempts by associations to ban the mezuzah would likely fail in court because the symbol is small and fairly innocuous and the religious tradition is well-established.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC