MPalisra Gallery

A distinctive feature of Jewish homes is the presence of a "mezuzah," a tiny scroll in a decorative case inscribed with the Jewish "Shema" prayer. The Shema שמע (Hebrew for `Listen!') prayer begins with the phrase: "Listen O'Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." Shema is perhaps the most important prayer in Judaism. Mezuzah cases are typically marked with the Hebrew letter ש (Shin), for Shaddai, a name of God meaning Almighty.

A Moslem correlate of the Shema is Surat Al-Ikhlas سورة الإخلاص‎ (Sura of The Fidelity), one of the most commonly recited Quranic suras. The four short verses of this sura contain the declaration of monotheism: "Say: He is God, the One and Only! God, the Eternal, Absolute. He begetteth not nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him."

This piece combines two unique cultural icons, a mezuzah with a scroll showing the first verse in Surat Al-Ikhlas. This highlights the most important similarity in the Jewish and Moslem faiths - Monotheism.

I reinterpret the Shin (ש) on the mezuzah as the Semitish letter Siin, the first letter of the word Salom (Peace in Semitish).


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