Star of David and hat

Part of a decoration on display at the Maisel Synagogue — which, like most of Prague’s synagogues, is no longer active but a museum preserving local Jewish history and culture.

Now, this particular design apparently became somewhat common in decorations and tombstones and such. What is the thingy in the middle of the Star of David? It’s the hat that adult male Jews had to wear in parts of Europe including Prague after the Lateran Council of 1215 (in Czech land it was usually white or yellow, to make it stand out even more) if they left their ghettos. In some Christian art, the hat could be used to identify a Jewish person, or to denote a bad guy of some sort.

In some parts of Europe it had been part of traditional Jewish garb, but after it became compulsory, it was seen in a much more negative light. But what’s interesting is how some Jewish people apparently decided to reclaim the symbol of humiliation and use it as a badge of pride and identity. Not something queers invented in the 1990’s!

   10 May 2023
   1/80s    f/2.8   75mm   ISO 1600
Star of David decoration