Jewish Traces in Lviv: Mezuzah Scars

In Lviv’s medieval old town, the Jewish community was most concentrated on the street which today is called Staroyevreyska, or Old Jewish Street. This Jewish quarter once had two synagogues and a house of learning.

During WWII, these synagogues along with other traces of Jewish life were all but erased from the city’s landscape.

There are a few surviving Jewish remnants, however, which can be found on some of the medieval houses along Staroyevreyska Street as well as on Brativ Rohatyntsiv Street. In the short doorframes remain angled slots that used to hold mezuzahs—pieces of parchment contained in decorative cases inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Torah.

When observant Jews used to pass through these doorposts, they would touch the mezuzah to show respect to God and to be reminded to live a spiritual or religious life.Maybe because they were so inconspicuous, or maybe out of ignorance, these slots have not been covered in the 70 plus years that have passed since the destruction of Lviv’s Jewish heritage. Though the slots survived, today they no longer serve as place for mezuzahs, but rather as reminders of the people who used to reside on these streets.

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