There are certain Jewish symbols you can recognize in less than one second, and others that are not as distinctly Jewish -- not-so-common, in other words.
Judaism is a religion full of icons and imagery, symbolic art for the home, building, paintings, and of course, jewelry.
The most common of course Jewish star of David.
1. Six Pointed Jewish Star of David
When you say Judaism, you instantly think of a Magen David, Hebrew for Shield of David, or simply said: Jewish Star.
It was a symbol used on King David's shield, but it really wasn't until the 14th century in Prague when the Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia Charles IV authorized the Czech Jewish community to display a red flag featuring the Star of David.
Then, of course, the Nazis forced Jews to wear a yellow star with the word Jude, marking them as Jewish. "Millions of Jews died under the Nazis and the Star of David is now both a national symbol and a symbol of martyrdom for Jews," as stated by the Compassnews. The Israeli flag, possibly in direct response to the Nazis, places the star as a symbol of pride in the center of their flag.
"The Menorah is more a religious marker of Judaism," writes the Chicago Jewish News, because it is mentioned in the Torah in both books of Exodus and Leviticus, and found in synagogues across the world as early as the Byzantine period
Torah Portion: Terumah (Exodus 25:1—27:19)
“You shall make a Lampstand (Menorah) of pure gold; the Lampstand shall be made of hammered work; . . . six branches shall issue from its side; three branches from one side of the lampstand and three branches from the other side of the Lampstand.
Just like the photo above, a mezuzah is a very common and noticeable icon within Judaism. It is found "...on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9) but has also been converted into jewelry to be carried close to your heart and soul.
But, please note that when wearing a mezuzah around your neck, like the pendant above, the parchment inside will not be kosher. It is forbidden to bring a kosher scroll into the bathroom, that is also why we put mezuzot throughout our home except for the restrooms.
The Hebrew prayer, Book of Deuteronomy 6:4 reads: "Hear O'Israel, the Lord is Our G-d, the Lord is One." This prayer is the premise of the entire Jewish religion. The belief in One G-d. It is the prayer one recites when waking and going to sleep, often the last words on one's lips.
This five finger amulet, that faces either up or down, ushers in love and happiness as well as an abundance of fortune, blessings, and good health. Although not distinctly Jewish, it is very popular among Jews of Middle Eastern origin. And, may we note, rapidly making its way into the homes of many Americans.
6. Evil Eye Ayin Ha-Ra
Although referred to as an evil eye, it isn't necessarily evil at all. Instead, it's an eye that stops harm from coming your way and can be referred to as a lucky eye that prevents harm from coming your way. The eye never closes, making it available to watch over and protect you 24/7.
Known around the world as an amulet, in Hebrew, it is called the Ayin Ha-Ra.
This two-letter Hebrew symbol represents LIFE.
It celebrates and blessed one with a long, healthy, life full of love and happiness. It is often referred to as "18," which is the numerical value of the combination of the two letters. It comes from the word Chayim, or maybe you've heard of L'chayim-- all meaning LIFE.
8.Elna Healing Prayer
When Moses' sister, Miriam, was sick with leprosy, Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, 'El na refa na la - O God, pray heal her!'" (Numbers 12:10-13)
This short, to the point, five-word prayer, is best summarized by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz as being "the primal call towards God becomes a cry, a hope, a plea. And, in doing, perhaps we understand that when a loved one is struggling or in pain so are we (even if it is a different pain). And, in naming it, we begin the journey to healing, however long a path it might be.
9. Red String
Kaballah and celebrities might have brought the wearing of a red string to the forefront, but it is actually an ancient amulet originating from Rachel'sTomb in Bethlehem.
A red string is known to provide protection throughout many cultures all over the world, stopping anything harmful coming your way.
This amulet acts as a barrier, to literally put a halt to bad stuff around you.
When the red string begins to unravel, the legend has it that you were protected from something, somewhere.
10. Ani L'dodi
King Solomon is credited with penning the phrase, "I am my beloved, and my beloved is mine." Ani l'dodi v'dodi li Song of Solomon 6:3. This is where he wrote his famous love poetry the professed love, desires, hopes, and dreams.
Often recited during weddings, found on marriage Ketubas (contracts) and gifted to show your love to another. This necklace says it all: our love is mutual.
So, what's your favorite piece of Jewish jewelry?
Let us know!
What is a hamsa hand amulet?
Most commonly, it is just known as a hamsa or spelled as chamsa, even khamsa.
There are many interpretations of these particular usages.
The hand is often depicted with an eye in the center of its open palm, presumably to ward off negative energies, including the gaze of envy.