Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fashion in Jewish Men's Head Coverings

Yarmulkes for The Fashionable Faithful", by LISA A. FLAM, is an interesting reading, reminding us of the non-commandment and non-specific injunction (is that the right word?) for Jewish men to cover their heads. This neat little article even includes a photo slide show with captions to help you understand the concept of wearing the yarmulke.

The yarmulke as it's known in Yiddish, or kippa in Hebrew, is a headcovering "worn as a sign of respect to remind one always that God's presence is over us and as a sign of respect whenever we say a blessing," says Rabbi Joel Meyers, a leader of the Rabbinical Assembly, which represents rabbis in the Conservative Jewish movement.

While the skullcap is among the most recognizable Jewish symbols, it is not sacred, which makes it acceptable to adorn it with sports logos or TV characters, says Meyers, who usually wears a knitted yarmulke.

"The important thing is the wearing of the kippa, not what's on the kippa," Meyers said, recalling one given to him with a propeller he thinks signifies "spiritual uplift."

It seemed a little disrespectful to me, because I liken them in my mind to our prayer veils. But they are not really as much symbols of prayer, but are symbols of their group and style of life, almost like "team colours" (which they are available in). I have noticed before how the various style of a head covering can mark a particular style of faith or understanding within a faith, and that is true here with the Jewish men's head coverings as well. You learn something new every day.

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And while we're talking Jewish head covering, you might enjoy this cute little story from West Bank Mama, who reminds us that wearing a head covering as an outward show that you are "not available" doesn't always work. :D
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