Project Genesis

Prayer and Religious Articles

Origin of the Jewish Star

Question: What is the origin of the Jewish Star?

Answer: The hexagram (six-pointed star) has been used as an ornament, and possibly as a magical sign, in many cultures since ancient times. It was used by Jews as well, but was not especially a Jewish symbol. In Byzantine and Arab sources it became known as the “seal of Solomon”, and this name was also adopted in Jewish sources. By the late Middle Ages the name had gradually changed to “shield of David” (Magen David). It was used as an official emblem by various Jewish families and communities beginning about 500 years ago, and was widely adopted as a Jewish symbol in the 19th century. In particular, it was adopted by the Zionist movement, and thus become an official Israeli symbol. For more details on its history see the article Magen David in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 11, cols. 687-697.

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