Hershel Weiss

Hershel Weiss

The Ginkgo Branch

In late October of this year I was contacted by a man living in Chicago named Ezra. He had purchased one of my mezuzah cases in 2013. Now he had a special request.

He mentioned a recent rough spot in his life.

“It was difficult, but I thought about my Bubbie who was stripped of everything and eventually sent to the camps. She survived, Baruch Hashem, and I loved her a lot.

”A couple of years ago, I visited her. She was living with dementia – probably Alzheimer’s – at the time. We took a walk, and she picked up a small branch that had broken off a ginkgo tree the day before. She carried it throughout our walk and took it home with her. She propped it in the corner.

“I returned home last fall for her memorial, and I found that branch still propped in the corner. I brought it home with me.   


“It will be awhile before I can afford to purchase a mezuzah case, but I’d like to know if this branch could be used to make one so that I can start saving money for the case.”

The branch was long enough to make four mezuzah cases. It was my first time working with gingko, which I found to be a sweet and easy wood to work. Unfortunately, though, I messed up one of the cases while carving the shin. That left three, and Ezra allowed me to keep one of them. I thanked him and let him know how rewarding it was to become part of the story, and to make something with so much meaning. I also learned that about 170 ginkgo trees survived the Hiroshima bombing. Another layer of meaning.

If you have a special tree branch, I’d be pleased to become part of your story by making it into a mezuzah case. Send me the branch!

“These mezuzot touch my heart in a way that’s difficult to express.” Ezra

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