What Are The Symbols Of Judaism

The Star of David

The hexagram shaped Star of David, widely accepted as the symbol of Judaism, is believed to have its origins as far back as ancient times and is connected to numerous biblical stories and legends. The most well-known classical source is the story of King David who used it on his shield in many battles against various other nations. Consequently, the star has become synonymous with the Jewish people.
Historians and scholars hypothesize that the symbol originated during the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492. They cite the similarity between the hexagram and the symbol of the Catholic monarchy, the Cross of the Order of Santiago. When refugees were forced to flee to other countries, it is believed the star was adopted in homage to the motherland the Jews had been exiled from.
These six-pointed stars typically have a deep blue background and a white center, but the color and style of the star have no bearing on its significance. What matters is the religious commitment associated with the symbol, which identifies the Jewish people as belonging to a religious and cultural community.
The symbol is commonly used in Jewish art and decorations, such as the large wooden mezuzahs that adorn doorposts and the blue and white tiles in synagogues, signifying protection and divine presence.

The Menorah

The Menorah, or candelabrum, is the oldest existing symbol of Judaism and is strongly associated with the temples of Jerusalem. According to the Bible, the menorah consists of seven branches on either side that represent the seven days of the week.
Similar to the star, this symbol has also been adopted by many other countries as a symbol of service and peace in their establishments. Often seen during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, the lighter is a modern representation of the Menorah, where all other lights are extinguished, and the single candle is lit, signifying the quest for human liberty and freedom.

The Torah

The physical presence of the Torah in a synagogue, or religious place of worship, is a symbol for all that Jews believe in and adhere to. Renderings of the five books of Moses, given directly from God, it is the oldest, most sacred Jewish text that contains all of laws and teachings that form the basis of the faith.
Arguably the most vital object in Jewish life, over generations, the Torah symbol has been imported and exported, the teachings transporting with it in all the places Jews have journeyed. Whether religious or secular, those unique to Judaism still innovate and develop around the foundations of the Torah.


The prayer shawl, known as the Tallit, is one of the most visible symbols of Jewish faith. As much a spiritual as it is a physical article of clothing, the tallit is a garment worn when Jews pray, or send blessings to one another, with the knots at the fringe symbolizing the multitude of prayers giving thanks, peace and love.
The tallit is traditionally 4 cornered with each corner having a blue thread attached. This blue thread or tekhelet is a reminder to the wearer of the need to put God first, symbolizing a ‘long’ and continued commitment to the Jewish faith.
The traditional tallit is white, although some can be more adorned with symbols and stitches telling the story of the people. Unique to religious establishments, there has been a sharp rise in the number of non-traditional tallits being worn with the more popularly recognized messages like ‘L’Dror Yikrah’ for freedom of the soul and ‘L’Haim’ for congratulations or good wishes.


The Mezuzah, which is a small rectangular box with a piece of parchment inside, is a common symbol of Judaism. Due to its size and shape, this item can be easily seen at the entrance of many homes.
Inside the box is contained a parchment inscribed with the two most important paragraphs of the Torah, the Shema, which serves as a reminder for all Jews to accept and uphold the ways of God. This symbol is so significant that it is said that for a Jewish home to be complete, one must have a Mezuzah at the entrance.
Mezuzahs are also important in Jewish hospitality. Upon entering any Jewish household, it’s traditional to reach down and kiss the Mezuzah, a gesture that signifies respect and reverence to the occupants of the home.


Sometimes referred to as a yarmulke, is another important symbol of Judaism. The Kippah is a skullcap that is worn by men and sometimes women to show reverence to God. It is typically worn during prayer and at times of religious service.
The Kippah is believed to be of particular importance as it indicates a rejection of the Ego. With its covering of the head, it serves as a reminder of our mortality and at the same time proclaims humility before the Almighty.
Kippot of all variety have been used for centuries in many religions. Their size, shape and color vary greatly and today’s kippot often feature unique patterns, prints and logos. For example, the blue stitched Kippah has become a global symbol of Jewish identity and is often referred to as the “Jewish yarmulke.”


The Hebrew letter Chet, pronounced “chai”, is one of the common symbols of Judaism. It is symbolic of two words in the Hebrew language, “Chayim” meaning “Life” and “Hai” which translates to “Give Us”.
At Jewish weddings, it is customary to offer the bride and groom a gift of gold chai pendants. This symbolizes the wishes of the giver that the new couple will be blessed with newfound life, growth, and joy. Alternatively, the Chai can also symbolize the most important concept of Judaism – faith.
Various other designs and pieces of jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, keychains and more, have been made with the iconic chet. These items are popular works of religious art and serve to remind their wearers and those around them of one of the core values of Judaism – faith and unity.

The Lion of Judah

The lion of Judah is a symbol that has its roots in the Bible. It is most commonly known for its representation of the biblical King David and his descendants. Throughout Jewish history, the symbol has been used as a sign of authority and strength, with the lion depicted as a symbol of strength and courage.
With its association with the identity of the Jewish nation, this particular symbol of Judaism is seen on many state flags, coins and other national emblems throughout the world.
The lion is also used as an emblem of modern Judaism, often represented in various artworks, decorations and clothing. The Lion of Judah has become a popular tattoo design due to its strong symbolism.


Tefillin, also known as phylacteries, is a set of two small black boxes that contain portions of the Jewish scriptures, typically worn by observant Jews during morning prayer services.
This symbol of Judaism is a reminder of several biblical passages, particularly the commandment given to the Jews to put God’s laws into their hearts and on their foreheads. By wearing the Tefillin, Jews promise to be faithful to God and observe His commandments.
The physical form of the Tefillin has also become symbolic of the link between the Jewish people and their God. The black boxes, typically made of synthetic materials, signify the material world, while the parchment inside symbolizes the spiritual world.

Judaism as a Religion

In its entirety, Judaism is a religion of tradition and customs. Its symbols, artifacts, and practices serve as symbols of devotion to, and remembrance of, all of the fundamental beliefs and worlds of the Jewish faith. To many, these symbols represent the lifeline, the unifying force of Jewish thought, and the faith they share.
From the teachings of the Torah and the ritual items used in everyday prayer, to the symbols that represent Jewish identity, such as the Star of David or the Menorah, Judaism is determined by a respect for certain symbols that all Jews share, wherever they happen to live.
Furthermore, these symbols serve as reminders for keeping each other in mind, an important lesson for all Jews, and a key principle of the faith. The more these symbols are embraced and recognized, the more the Jewish community is connected and improved.

Josephine Beck is a passionate seeker of religious knowledge. She loves to explore the depths of faith and understanding, often asking questions that challenge traditional beliefs. Her goal is to learn more about the different interpretations of religion, as well as how they intersect with one another.

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