Many people who are unaware or unaffiliated with the Jewish religion are puzzled by the Jewish Jewelry symbols that they see Jewish people wearing around their neck, on their wrists or on their fingers. Some people have no connection whatsoever to Judaism yet find the Jewish Jewelry symbols to be quite beautiful and wish to purchase such accessories. Others wish to express their support for the Jewish people and Israel and do so by buying Jewish Jewelry yet would love to understand the meaning behind the symbols. Allow us to demystify the most popular Jewish Jewelry Symbols…
Star of David (Magen David in Hebrew)
The Star of David is actually a relatively recent Jewish symbol. The Star of David is a six-pointed star made up of two triangles- one facing upwards and one downwards. A few centuries ago this symbol was not even associated with Jewish people and it has been known to be used by a few different religions. After it was chosen to be the central symbol on the Israeli national flag, it became associated with the modern State of Israel and Jewish people.
The Mezuzah is an ancient Jewish symbol that is rooted in the Bible. G-d commanded the Jewish people to affix certain words from the Torah to their doorways and through the understanding of the Sages, this was understood to mean that a certain passage was to be inscribed on a piece of parchment and affixed to every doorway of a Jewish house. The Mezuzah is seen when entering and exiting each doorway and serves as a constant reminder of G-d’s watchful eye over the inhabitants of the house. Many choose to wear such a pendant to remind themselves of G-d’s unwavering love and protection.
The High Priest in the times of the Temple had special garments that he would wear. One of these garments was the Choshen- a breastplate which was fixed with twelve precious stones that each represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel. When the High Priest needed to know certain things, through the use of the Choshen he would learn the answers. There are many beautiful Choshen pendants on the market that people choose to wear so as to remind themselves of the different groups that make up Judaism and how they must work together in harmony.
JEWELRY FROM ISRAEL VERSUS LOCAL JEWELRY
We live in a globalized world today whereby one can acquire objects from all over the world from the local stores. Jewelry, for example can be purchased in your local jewelry store and originate from all over the world. Jewelry from Israel is just one example of the kinds of jewelry one can purchase in the stores and online. The question is asked, why buy Jewelry from Israel if I can buy local jewelry and support local artists?
There are a number of reasons for buying Jewelry from Israel:
- If you are living in the Diaspora then let’s start by admitting that there is something much more unique about buying Jewelry from Israel that is often based on traditional symbols than buying a piece of local jewelry that is not rooted in a tradition that is a few millennia old.
- For those who ask why then should they not buy Jewish Jewelry from local designers instead of Jewelry from Israel we say that there is nothing wrong with supporting local designers but there is something meaningful about supporting Israeli brethren when they are sitting in our land, guarding it for when you will come on back. Is Israel considered a local cause then? Good question…it may not be your local cause at this present moment but as Jews who pray three times a day requesting to come back home to Israel, the question remains where our home really is…
- Today, the growing trend is unfortunately to boycott products that are coming from Israel. Call it anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism, call it whatever you want. The fact remains that these boycotts are affecting Jewish people living in Israel directly. Be pro-active in boycotting the boycotts against Israel and buy a piece of Jewelry from Israel!
- After two-thousand years of exile the Jewish people have been granted the privilege to come back home. There is no denying the outright miracles that have happened and continue to happen every day in Israel. Even if you are living outside of Israel and can’t be there right now, make sure to be a part of the magnificent reawakening of the Jewish people. If that means buying Israeli products, such as Jewelry from Israel then so be it…
- Every piece of jewelry carries with it a little piece of their designer. Just imagine; when you purchase a piece of Jewelry from Israel you are purchasing a little piece of that incredible Israeli spirit to carry with you…