Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David (✡), known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David, is a generally recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism. Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles. Unlike the menorah, the Lion of Judah, the shofar and the lulav, the Star of David was never a uniquely Jewish symbol.
During the 19th century the symbol began to proliferate amongst the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, ultimately being used amongst the Jewish communities in the Pale of Settlement. A significant motivating factor was the desire to imitate the influence of the Christian cross. The earliest Jewish usage of the symbol was inherited from medieval Arabic literature by Kabbalists for use in talismanic protective amulets (segulot) where it was known as a Seal of Solomon. The symbol was also used in Christian churches as a decorative motif many centuries before its first known use in a Jewish synagogue. Prior to the 19th century, official use in Jewish communities was generally known only in the region of today's Czech Republic, Austria and possibly parts of Southern Germany, having begun in medieval Prague.
The symbol became representative of the worldwide Zionist community, and later the broader Jewish community, after it was chosen as the central symbol on a flag at the First Zionist Congress in 1897.
The identification of the term "Star of David" or "Shield of David" with the hexagram shape dates to the 17th century. The term "Shield of David" is also used in the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) as a title of the God of Israel.
Source: Star of David from Wikipedia
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