A Star of David does not hold the same significance as a cross does for a Christian, but none the less, it serves as a clear symbol of identity for Jews. This past week, I received a small, silver Star of David charm as a gift. I was very happy to receive the present, because it came as a gesture that the person giving it to me acknowledged the path I am on, converting. The immediate joy was soon replaced with a sense of uneasiness as I thought about wearing the Star of David.
This is the first Star of David I have owned. I have collected a few pieces of jewelry with Hebrew script and a hamsa pendant over the past couple of years, but never a Star of David. I purposely avoided getting a Star of David, because I just did not feel it was right. The Star of David identifies a Jew, and I am not a Jew, yet. I know some people may think I am over analyzing the significance of wearing a Star of David and not being Jewish, but I think of it in the same terms as a non-Jewish man wearing a kippah all the time. People would falsely identify him as Jewish since he is wearing a distinctly Jewish symbol. This can sometimes be dangerous because the non-Jew becomes a representative of Judaism. I do not want to identify myself as something I am not, especially when it is so meaningful to enter the people of Israel after a long, hard process of learning and adhering, not only after independently declaring belief.
Thinking about whether or not to wear the Star of David over the past few days has made me think about what religious symbols really mean and what they serve as. I think there is a important distinction between a person wearing a cross and a person wearing a Star of David. Both symbols, to outsiders, serve as a marker of identity, but to the person wearing them they seem to usually mean something different. A cross is a very meaningful symbol of a strong belief. A cross implies that the person wearing it is Christian, but it really is a fundamental claim about what the person believes. A Star of David does not symbolize a belief but an identity. At this point, wearing the Star of David is a symbol of my Jewish beliefs but not a Jewish identity. It is a sign that I believe in One God, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
My conclusion at this point: I decided to wear the Star of David when it will not lead to me falsely identifying as a Jew. I will wear it around my friends and family that know where I stand and complete strangers who would not pay attention to my jewelry either way. If anyone does refer to the Star of David, I will be honest and upfront in letting them know that I am not Jewish. (But, I am a fan 🙂 )