Why I Wear A Kippah

I wanted to share a few thoughts on why I wear a kippah (plural: kippot), a Jewish ritual I have questioned a fair bit over the past couple years.

I do not wear a kippah in reverence to a deity who exists ‘above’ my head.  Granted, that is why most Jews (male and female) wear one, and consequently much if not all of the time that I am seen wearing one that will be the prevailing assumption.  As with all stereotypes, everyone is free to put me in the box and move on, but more often than not there is so much nuance under the surface as to make the initial stereotype all but meaningless.

I wear a kippah because Judaism is important to me; Judaism as a culture, people, etc. without any specific ritual requirements attached.  This reasoning brings with it the fact that many times where a traditionally observant Jew would not want to show his or her kippah publicly may not be relevant (the topic of when a woman who strongly believes in wearing a kippah should wear it publicly and potentially face ridicule and harassment is really a separate issue).  Mainly, this is tied to doing things that are not ‘becoming’ of one who wears a kippah, for example doing something that Orthodox Jews would not do on Shabbat or a holiday, going to a casino (or a beach, or a theater, depending on who sees you), entering a non-Kosher restaurant, etc.  The key is to be true to myself while wearing a kippah, which I think is the origin of the custom that has developed generally for Jews wearing one.

The lesson being: rather than assuming that, after seeing someone wearing a kippah in a situation that you do not think is fitting, that they are a heretic, ask them about it.  In my experience, since wearing a kippah is the most visual representation of my Jewishness on a day-to-day basis, I am very aware of when my kippah is visible and when it is not.  Assuming that others who wear kippot think about what it means to wear one constantly is not too much of a stretch.

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5 thoughts on “Why I Wear A Kippah

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