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I recently visited the Dohany Street Synagogue, and I was puzzled by the eight-pointed stars that decorates a great portion of the exterior of the main building (notice the star is within another "star-like" shape, also with eight points).

I have found no explanation for such pattern, beside some "dubious", perhaps unrelated information online about esoteric reasons (e.g. here or here). The Wikipedia article makes not mention of it. Maybe the Hebrew version does (there are some more closed-up pictures there), but I cannot read Hebrew. I took the tour, and the person said that the synagogue was neolog, which introduced new elements. Would this be a "new element"?

PS: to be fair, this is the first synagogue I ever visit, so maybe this is an obvious thing that requires no complex explanation.

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    The style of architecture is Moorish Revival, which is meant to look like someone's idea of the Arab world, and that shape is a common arabesque design motif. – paquda Jun 27 '17 at 18:16
  • Just verifying for you, the Hebrew Wiki article makes no mention of the eight-pointed stars. – ezra Jun 29 '17 at 18:46
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    why is this significantly different than a 6 pointed start which is a modern symbol and not actually as the name might suggest from King David? – Laser123 Jun 29 '17 at 19:01
  • Neolog refers to the religious ideology of the Dohany St. Synagogue, not the architecture, which, as @paquda mentioned, is Moorish Revival. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jun 29 '17 at 19:07
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    I don't think that there is any significance. To paraphrase R' Yoel Teitelbaum: not everything has real significance. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jun 30 '17 at 1:06
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The synagogue was designed by Ludwig Förster in the Moorish Revival style. So was, around the same time, the Leopoldstädter Tempel, which also has eight-cornered stars. The Yenidze factory, designed half a century later and by someone else but in the same style, also has eight-cornered stars. Eight-cornered stars seem to have been the style: nothing Jewish about them. (In fact, the Yenidze factory was designed by Hitler's brother-in-law.)

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The eight pointed star, Rub el Hizb is a symbol of Islam and was used as part of the Moorish Revival architecture. This style of architecture was included in many synagogues in Europe and the United States. The architect appears not to have been aware of the religious significance of the eight pointed star and just used it as part of the style they were imitating.

The Dohány Street Synagogue was built to mimic the Arab architecture because

Ludwig Förster, believed that no distinctively Jewish architecture could be identified, and thus chose "architectural forms that have been used by oriental ethnic groups that are related to the Israelite people, and in particular the Arabs".2 The interior design is partly by Frigyes Feszl.

2 Förster, Ludwig (1859). "Das Israelitische Verhaus in der Wiener Vorstadt Leopoldstadt". Allgemeine Bauzeitung (in German). Vienna. Retrieved 29 January 2012. page 14 - 16

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