Cedars-Sinai Blog

Behind the Scenes: Cedars-Sinai Star of David

Star of David, Magen David, Shield of David, Mogen, Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles

If you've visited Cedars-Sinai, you've probably seen them—the big Stars of David on the east and west sides of the building. But why are they there and what do they represent? 

The Star of David is a symbol that dates back to the medieval period. In modern times, it is most often associated with Judaism. 

"The hospital is an expression of our Jewish values of caring for all people and making the world a better place."

When Cedars of Lebanon and Mount Sinai merged, the founders originally planned to call the new hospital Los Angeles Jewish Medical Center. When the name Cedars-Sinai was chosen instead, they looked for ways to maintain the organization's Jewish identity.

One solution was the Stars of David, which were hung before the doors of the new Cedars-Sinai opened on April 3, 1976. 

A sense of community

"The people who founded this hospital were very proud of their Jewish identity," says Rabbi Jason Weiner, director of the Spiritual Care Department. "The hospital is an expression of our Jewish values of caring for all people and making the world a better place."

Each star is approximately 12 feet across and 12 feet tall—the founders wanted the stars to be big enough to be seen by visitors approaching the hospital. There are rumors that these are the biggest Stars of David in California. 

The stars are made from galvanized sheet metal and were painted white in 2000 when the buildings were repainted. That same year, lights were added to them for the first time.

For patients at Cedars-Sinai, the stars can take on different meanings, but the common thread is a sense of community. 

"A lot of people have found religious meaning in the Star of David, but it's not officially a religious symbol," says Rabbi Weiner.

"Many patients, both Jewish and non-Jewish, tell me they feel a sense of belonging here when they see the stars or that it gives them confidence that we are driven by a higher purpose."

Learn more about the history of Cedars-Sinai.