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The Rich Meaning of the Star of David
The Star of David has become the most recognizable Jewish symbol in the world. Today, for those who want to express their Jewish identity, wearing Jewish jewellery and in particular a Star of David necklace or pendant is common.
Perhaps the earliest recorded use of the hexagram comes from a 3rd – 4th century synagogue in the Galilee area of northern Israel. However, it is entirely possible that this was only a decorative item. It is unclear as to exactly how the Star of David got its name – It is thought to represent the shield that King David used in his various battles to establish a Jewish kingdom in the land of Israel and the divine protection he was afforded in doing so. However, the first recorded use of the Magen David to represent Jews collectively comes from central Europe. In the 14th century, the Jews of Prague were permitted by King Charles to display a red flag with a Star of David at the main synagogue. The Jews of Budapest were given a similar honour soon after.
However, by the 17th century, the Star of David had come to represent entire Jewish communities. The Jewish quarter of Vienna was separated from the rest of the city by a boundary stone, which displayed the Star of David on one side and a Christian cross on the other. By this point, Jewish communities across Europe used the Magen David as a positive symbol of identification and it became a regular feature on tombstones and in synagogues. With the founding of the Zionist movement in the nineteenth century, the Magen David also took on political meaning, coming to represent the national aspirations of the Jewish people for a national home.
Destruction and Redemption
In many ways, the modern history of the Star of David is intertwined with the fate of the Jewish people. As the Nazis strengthened their grip on 1930s Europe, they forced Jews across the continent to wear the Star of David in public, often as a yellow badge, as a sign of inferiority. But, only three years after the end of the Second World War, the State of Israel adopted the Magen David as the centrepiece of the national flag. It instantly became a powerful symbol of Jewish sovereignty and redemption. This positive identification is reflected in the common use of the symbol in Jewish jewellery across the world. There are any number of various Star of David pendants, necklaces and rings for sale. Not only do these allow people to proudly express their identity, but often in a fashionable and beautifully decorative way.