Wearing a Jewish Star

29 01 2007

My friend (who’s also converting) and I were recently asked why we don’t wear Magen David necklaces.  Apparently we both strike everyone as the sort of people who would wear them (which is true, both of us would, and plan to) but neither one of us even owns one at this point.  We had both independently come to the conclusion that it would be dishonest, and inappropriate in some way, although we couldn’t put a finger on why.  I think that by wearing a Star of David necklace, we would doing something that would cause everyone around us to assume we were Jewish, which is, strictly speaking, untrue; it feels like lying. 

Now, no one has said anything that makes us think that it would be seen as out of line; in fact, everyone we’ve asked has said they think there is nothing wrong with it, or even that we definitely should.  And it’s not as if we don’t do other things that make people think we’re already Jewish.  I recently found out that most of the people at both Chabad and Hillel thought I was already Jewish (Not the Rabbi, or people in charge, but the other students).  But somehow this feels different.  I guess the best thing to do would be to ask my Rabbi what he thinks and see if we’re just picking up on something real, or if we’re just imagining it. 

Part of it might also be that we want to do something that makes it clear(er) that we arn’t Jewish.  People at Hillel keep treating us like we ARE Jewish. I’ve been asked on several occasions to lead services, or read haftorah, or have an aliyah, or say kiddush.  The people who ask all know that I’m not Jewish, and don’t care.  They see no distinction between knowing a lot about Judaism, and being Jewish, and since we generally are one of if not the most knowledgeable people in a group and we clearly intend to be Jewish, they’re opinion is why bother making a fuss over a technicality.  Obviously this can be pretty awkward for us, since we do care about that technicality. 

Just one more of the awkward moments of the conversion process.

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11 responses

29 01 2007
Liorah Lleucu

The hexagram is a metaphysical and geometric symbol used in many mystical systems, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. You don’t have to “be Jewish” to wear a hexagram. Did you know that the pentagram almost became Israel’s state symbol over the hexagram? Wear a Jew-ish hexagram if you want to, for yourself, as a symbol of an “identity-in-the-making” even. No intelligent person will think you are trying to fool anyone.

30 01 2007
Jewish Thinker

It’s all about identity. Clearly you identify with the Jewish faith and are in the middle of the process converting. I’d say the symbol of Judaism has more meaning to you that most of the people who walk around with crosses around their necks.

It is a large step I think psychologically. You’re telling to the public that you are in fact Jewish, that can be a very overwhelming yet exhilarating feeling at times.

It was the symbol the Nazis used in WWII… there’s a lot of power and history behind it. But you shouldn’t feel scared or not worthy to wear it. Embrace it, it’s becoming your culture.

Face it, sometimes it’s not easy being a Jew and publicly telling the world that you’re different can cause some anxiety

30 01 2007
Emily

You both have good points. I don’t think anyone would think I was trying to fool anyone, and I already wear skirts and high necklines, which to me just about screams “orthodox Jew”. People on the street mistake me for being Jewish all the time, and I have no problem with that, so it’s not an issue of being worried about identifying as a Jew.
I wonder if some part of it is that I want to reserve some concrete tangible way of marking when I convert? Perhaps that’s the reason we have this opinion.

30 01 2007
Liorah Lleucu

Marking milestones is good too. If wearing a magen David symbolizes marking a milestone for you, then you shouldn’t let anyone talk you into wearing it before you are ready and feel comfortable with it. Whatever you decide, will be fine with most people, I think.

31 01 2007
Jewish Thinker

Milestones are good too, at the end of the day it’s whatever your comfortable with. G’luck.

5 03 2007
Barbara

The more I read your posts Emily the more I think we were separated at the brain! LOL. Let me share with you my story of wearing a Jewish star:
http://barbarany_9.blogspot.com/2006/03/essence-of-esther-character-study-of.html

From another one of your technicality burdened sisters.

5 03 2007
Emily

Barbara- That’s too wierd that she told you not to wear a Jewish star. Most of my friends here do, I’ve never heard of something like that. Good for you!

23 05 2011
Kathryn

I feel the exact same way, Emily. I’m glad I’m not alone in this feeling. I may reserve it for when I simply actively begin conversion. I found a synagogue that I really love, and I will probably ultimately make it my own. I just have to have a conversation with the Rabbi first and figure out what I need to do.

I’m glad I stumbled onto your site, you seem brilliant!

7 08 2011
sharon

I stumbled upon this webpage, so now I have a question. I am not Jewish, but I’ve been to Israel several times, and volunteered 14 months on a ship in the 90’s that helped transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. I am pro-Israel (been called a Zionist by friends). When I was in Israel my husband bought me a jewish star on a gold chain, which I wear with pride. After reading the above conversation, am I offending anyone by doing this?

19 01 2015
sandrinetaga

few days ago, I wore my magen david jewel at work, I have met couple of jewish showing appreciation of me wearing it. I told them I am a christian zionist. they share some cool fact about jewish . it is a real nice experience. one of them eventually told my boss how good a person I am.. haha

19 01 2015
sandrinetaga

few days ago, I wore my magen david jewel at work, I have met couple of jewish showing appreciation of me wearing it. I told them I am a christian zionist. they share some cool fact about jewish . it is a real nice experience.

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