Michael Bromberg Designs
Star of David
 
The Star of David is a universally renowned symbol of the Jewish faith today. It is a simple design of two equally sized triangles crossing each other to form a perfectly symmetrical six pointed star. It is in the shape of the hexagram which is also a symbol used for ceremonies by various cultures throughout time. As a Shield of David' kabbalah amulet, this particular sign is thought to contain positive magical protective powers. Depending on a person’s beliefs or religious upbringing, the Star of David will represent a connection with the Jewish State of Israel or as a personal connection with one’s faith. Either way, it has a strong, solid, emotional affiliation with each person’s personal interpretation of the symbol. A Shield of David' kabbalah amulet is a wonderful Jewish gift that can be worn by a man or a woman.

No one can say for sure when the Star was first used as a religious emblem for the Jewish people. There is a biblical belief that King David’s battle shield was decorated with the six pointed star and that the shield protected him from his enemies. That would date the use of the Magen David, the Shield of David, to the 10th century B.C.E. But, during King David’s reign, it was the seven branched Menorah that was the uniformed symbol of the Jewish people.

While there is no specific biblical basis for the Star of David, a hexagram symbol was discovered on a stone from the arch of a 2nd century C.E. synagogue in Capernaum, in Galilee, Israel. There is no definitive proof that this design was intended to be used as a religious sign or merely as a decorative symbol. Stone masons and builders enjoyed using the hexagram as it was a simple sign to create. A Shield of David' kabbalah sign was located on a 3rd century C.E. tombstone in Apulia, Italy. The area was renowned for its many Kabbalah scholars. The oldest known printed use of the Magen David as a meaningful Jewish symbol is on a page of the Leningrad Codex, dated 1008. The symbol was also printed in a 14th century C.E. Tanakh manuscript that belonged to Rabbi Yosef ben Marvas of Spain, and on the cover of a 16th century C.E. Siddur in Prague.

Emperor Charles IV of Prague granted the city’s Jewish population the use of their own flag for state occasions in 1354. The people chose a flag with a large six pointed Magen David in the center. Just such a flag is displayed today in Altneushul, Prague’s oldest synagogue. In Vienna, during the 17th century C.E., the city’s religious sectors were separated by a boundary stone with a painted Jewish star on one side and a painted Christian cross on the other side. Zionist Theodor Herzl chose the Jewish Star as a symbol for his renewed movement because of its popularity and because it held no religious associations. Ironically, today the Star of David still retains its popularity as a Jewish symbol, but it is now the acknowledged symbol of the Jewish State of Israel and the Jewish people around the globe. The Magen David is proudly worn as a protective amulet and displayed on the cover of many religious prayer books.

It wasn’t until after the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century C.E. that the Jewish people were free to practice their religion. It was then that they adopted the six pointed Jewish star as their equivalent religious symbol for the Christian cross. The symbol spread out across Europe and became the symbolic sign of the Jewish people which remains in prominence today.

Many modern Judaica art objects have the Star of David displayed as a central focal point. This type of artwork makes an ideal Jewish gift for a house warming. A picture, an album or a wall plague that emphasizes the Magen David is always a thoughtful Jewish gift and is greatly appreciated by the person receiving the present. It is a real mystery, but a wonderful blessing, that one simple design, without any scripture support, could become such a unifying sign between people separated by distance and forever connected by belief and faith. Shalom! 
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