This is a Star of David. It is a symbol of pride for my people, adopted by the movement born out of our need for self determination in our ancestral homeland after millennia of exile and persecution — the Zionist movement. The chant of hope my people spoke, during the darkest nights, during pogroms, holocaust, inquisition, and holy wars over millennia was “Am Yisrael Chai” the nation of Israel lives. Chai – life – is the word inside the star.
I purchased this star online from an Israeli Etsy store during the Gaza unrest of May 2021. While my family was sitting in bomb shelters, Hamas rockets were falling throughout Israel, and Jews were being attacked all over the world. One person was attacked for wearing a star. I purchased this star to wear, to express MY pride. The dream of self determination, living in our ancestral homeland, had been fulfilled.
November 2021 I traveled to Jerusalem to visit family. Walking through the center of town a man stopped me, pointed to my necklace, and asked: “Where did you get this?” I told him that I had gotten it on Etsy.
He beckoned me into his store. It was one of those stores you might think is for tourists, as it is. But when you look closely at the wares, each one is carefully crafted, and beautiful. There were handwoven cloths, chessboards, lamps, and bags of all sorts.
At the back was a jewelry cabinet. He pointed down and right there was my star.
He hadn’t heard of Etsy and was worried that someone had stolen his design. So I found my email receipt. He zoomed in on the profile picture of the seller and started laughing “Daoud!” It turns out it was his cousin who handles the online store.
Avi, the person who called me in, was the silversmith who had designed my necklace. The store had been founded by his father. The family are Bedouin, an Arab nomadic tribe, and live near Be’er Sheva in the Negev down south. They have five stores now, all around the country, and the various pieces are all hand crafted by his family.
Avi invited me for to share a cup of Turkish coffee with him and we talked about our lives.
This is a typical Israeli story.