How Did the Star of David Come to Be?

History of the six-pointed star and it’s connection to Judaism.

From synagogues, clothes, temples, buildings and even flags like the flag of Israel, the six-pointed star has become a symbol of Judaism. Initially, the star, otherwise known as the Star of David or Shield of David, was not uniquely a representation of the Jewish community. This was unlike signs such as the Lion of Judah, the Lulav, and the Shofar and most prominent of all, the Menorah, which is a seven-armed ceremonial candelabrum. So this raises the question, how did this star become the official symbol of the community? The earliest notable use of the star was decorative purposes according to Alec Mishory, a historian. The star was used to mark ancestry on printed work by Jewish printers in a bid to distinguish themselves from their competition. The hexagram was also used for Kabbalistic purposes from as early as the third century CE on tombstones, tables and other locations and traditional items.

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In the 19th century, however is when the star become even more widely utilized as a religious symbol among the Central European Jews living among Christian communities. This was in a bid to have a symbol that imitated the influence and importance of the Christian cross, a universal sign of Christianity. The star was therefore incorporated to adorn the walls of modern Jewish temples and synagogues and on the faces of ritual objects. This trend spread out to Jews all over eventually reaching Poland and Russia. The star being chosen in 1897 as the symbol at the center of the flag at the First Zionist Congress officially instituted it as the representative symbol of the Zionist community worldwide. Eventually, it was also incorporated into the wider Jewish community.

In the 20th century, the hexagram was even used to show Jewish affiliation in sports. Teams like Hakoah Vienna; a soccer team, the Philadelphia Sphas; a basketball team and boxing champions like Benny Leonard and Max Baer had the star on their sporting attire as a representation of their Jewish culture and roots. This star came to be infamously used during the Nazi regime. Jews were required to forcibly wear a yellow six-pointed star as a form of identification during the Holocaust. The star was to be worn on the left side of the breast and also on their back whenever in public failure to which, one would be severely punished.

Today the star is still used in many modern orthodox synagogues, on the Israeli flag and also by the MDA, Magen David Adom, which is Israel’s official emergency disaster and medical ambulance service. Although it is most widely used by the Jewish community, the six-pointed star can also be seen in other religions such as Hinduism. Here it is utilized as a representation of merging of spiritual elements for example Humanity and God or Female and Male.


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