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Student stays confident in faith following incident in residence hall

December 15, 2022
<p>A residential hallway of West Holmes Hall photographed on Jan. 29, 2021.</p>

A residential hallway of West Holmes Hall photographed on Jan. 29, 2021.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21, human biology freshman Adina Peysakhov heard a loud smack at her dorm door. Peysakhov and her roommate opened the door to see her mezuzah had fallen off her doorpost roughly 10 feet away.

A mezuzah is fixed to Jewish household doorposts and is inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah to provide safety to the people inside or outside of the home.

“You can see (the mezuzah) was smacked off because if it fell, which it wouldn’t have because it was really sturdy hanging … it would have been directly under, but it was a good distance away,” Peysakhov said. “I was kind of mad because, if it was intentional, it was an act of antisemitism.”

For the privacy of students, cameras are not installed in private spaces, MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen said. Peysakhov felt she had no way to find out who did it and decided to not file a police report.

“If you think of some of our common bathroom spaces … those are areas in which we wouldn’t necessarily want to place a camera for the privacy of our residents,” Olsen said.

Chabad Student Center at MSU Co-Director Benzion Shemtov hung the mezuzah for Peysakhov at the beginning of the fall semester and she asked Shemtov to hang it back up this past Monday.

“Just the fact that it came from her, that she wanted to do it, that was really special,”  Shemtov said. “That’s what Adina is doing over here: staying strong with what she believes and putting the mezuzah back up on her door to bring light and blessing to her, to her roommate and to everyone around her.”

MSU Hillel is committed to providing further education on mezuzahs and Jewish religious symbols in residence halls, Associate Director of MSU Hillel Robyn Hughey said.

“As a Jewish community and a campus community, we must call out and condemn hate,” Hughey said. “We must shine a light to dispel the darkness of antisemitism.”

Peysakhov received support from her family and the Jewish community in staying confident in her faith. With the rise of national antisemitic hate crimes, Shemkov said that the Jewish community worries, but understands that they need to take action and be a light for themselves and others.

“Especially with Hannakuh coming up … lighting, each night, another candle, bringing more light and kindness into this world," Shemtov said. "That’s the best answer we can give, and ... hopefully that will have an effect and share that warmth with our surroundings and hopefully, that will make the world that much brighter.”

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