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Kippahs have been traditionally worn as head coverings to unite people around the world in hatred of Jews. In Israel however, the kippah is a political statement of your beliefs and who you want to marry (so that other Jews can unite in hatred of you). Whether you call it a Kippa, Kippah, Yarmulke, Skullcap, what you wear is how I will define you. Here's a list of some of the most popular kippahs, the styles, and why they are worn:
Big in the Chassidic and Yeshiva communities, you wear this and you are immediately accepted as a decent Jew who is serious about learning Torah. Jewish style starts in Brooklyn, and for this reason most every Jewish community has adopted this look.
Black is the color. The velvet yarmulke should not be turquoise or any kind of blue, unless if you are a child. You will never get a shidduch and find your true match if you are found wearing red velvet.
The Kippah Srugah – Knit Kippah
The knit kippah is a political statement meaning you are Zionistic, and you should move to Israel if you want to meet your better half. Zionists like to crochet- not many people know that. Non-Zionists will sew, but they don't crochet. Neither embroiders.
To show you're very Zionistic, wear the Israeli army kippah in knit form. Wearing the army yarmulke in cloth form will confuse people. You'll end up marrying a girl who wears jeans but doesn't allow TV or the internet in the house.
Remember, the kippah is more important than the action. No need to join the army itself. Wearing the kippah, you get just as much honor and are appreciated enough for your political beliefs.
This Black Kippah is similar to the velvet, but without the velvet outside. Just the inside doubled up. Known as the Soloveitchik, this easy to breath velvet style is the summer go to option. Jewish men perspire three times more than the average male. Nothing to do with the Yarmulke; it's the extra choolante and sorbet eaten during the summer months. With the Soloveitchik, you only perspire twice as much.
A velvet or Soloveitchik kippah with designs and words on it. Designs of trains are usually added to it. Trains with Aleph Bet letters inside. You get the kippah when you're three, and you wear the same one, always. That's how you teach tradition. To note, this is the only velvet kippah that's allowed to be blue. It's understood that it was given to you as a youngster, before you were looking for a wife.
The Army of H' Kippah is a collectors item. That's why you never see anybody wearing that one. You also don't learn very much about self defense in the Army of H'. Though, you do learn about Torah and serving Gd. So, I wouldn't suggest showing off that you're part of that army, unless if you're ready to summon your enemies in a battle of prayer.
Knit Kippah that Was Knitted for You with Your Name on It
Big in the 1980s modern orthodox America scene, this meant love. Anybody can purchase a knitted kippah. However, getting your name knitted on the kippah and then to have Shira’s name on the inside; that's the greatest show of devotion any teenager could exhibit. That means somebody cared about you enough to crochet and not listen during Bible and Halacha class.
Many married men wear this kippah from their youth to remind them of somebody they love.
Side Note: I love those old Jewish jokes about wives and mothers-in-laws. I think that last line falls into the category.
What I wear on Shabbat to save $30. And what I always wore, because I never had a girlfriend growing up.
Hand knit is not mentioned in this article, as I am not a classist. I'm not going to ostracize the 99% of the population that can't afford knit by hand or a date.
This kippah says you have more hair than the average Jew. This kippah is crocheted like the knit kippah, but with thick yarn. Three times the size of a knit kippah and less than half the weave, this Rasta tam headwear is very popular with the hippie Jewish people who have never been to Jamaica.
When making my own, I go for the Sruga Carlebach hybrid, where I take extremely thick yarn and weave three loops and call it a kippah. The yarn is a great time saver.
The settlers use this thickness of yarn. They’re the closest to hippies, as they live in a Woodstock type atmosphere year-round. With Settler thick payis, one could get away with less yarn.
This is the original big kippah and yet it still pales in size to the Cohen’s headdress. Originating in Asia, these most colorful kippahs drew their uniqueness and design from their local imaginative culture, the same way the Ashkenazik Jews drew the black kippah from European culture. Jewish culture and cuisine are influenced by the excitement of surrounding nations, which is why European Jews wear black to identify with European ethos of living in lament.
Along with the Carlbeach, large knit and huge velvets, this kippah is tactfully used to cover baldness. If you notice, as Jews age the yarmulke becomes larger, even if they are not becoming more religious.
Felt With Sports Team
This means you went to some boy’s Bar Mitzvah over the past 6 years.
This says you are an American traditional Jew, have no opinion about Israel, went to Hebrew day school for 12 years and can’t speak Hebrew.
The suede style also means nobody loved you enough to knit you one. Though the knitted usually comes out poorly shaped, once made for you, you would have to wear it or you would get in trouble. Nobody has ever knit a suede yarmulke for anybody. If any ladies are reading, I would gladly take a suede kippah with my name glittered on it. I would be fine with any bedazzlement.
Suede with Name & Date Inside
This means you attended a Bar Mitzvah or wedding in the 1980s. In the 1980s you would go for a weekend celebration and get a yarmulke so that you would have something, along with the Birkat Hamozon Blessing Book, you couldn’t find when the celebrants visited you.
I cherish these 1980s celebrations with the attendance imprint on all items. When my friend Abby got Bar Mitzvahed, some people thought that was a girl’s name on the inside of my yarmulke. I felt loved.
Nowadays, you just receive a felt yarmulke with a random sports teams on it. There is no name. No date on the inside. And then they expect you to remember the exact day the boy went up to read the Torah. They quiz you about the generic yarmulke when they visit. How am I supposed to remember that Chaim from Nova Scotia who got Bar Mitzvahed 18 years ago’s favorite baseball team is the Marlins? I have a hard enough time trying to figure out how why there is a 'C' in the marlin logo.
The Paper Yarmulke
You showed up at the Kotel and weren’t prepared. Now everybody knows you are not a religious Jew.
They're going to bring back the paper kippahs when they realize how much fun Jewish origami is. Nothing is as fun as folding paper and using staples. That's how Jews origami. It's easier and smarter. Still trying to figure out how the people of the Far East never thought of staples.
The Satin Reflector
This means safety is important to you, or that you grew up in the 1940s and were born before the modern state of Israel. The safest of all kippahs, this shiny yarmulke should always be worn at night. Wearing the Satin Reflector during daylight hours is also a strong statement that you are married and not trying to look good.
Note: Never purchase the Satin Reflector. You can always find this kippah in the shul’s Kippah box. In the coatroom, you can also find the reflector vest box, for late night walking home in the winter. Boxes are an important part of synagogue life.
Traditional Bar Mitzvah Yarmulke
Made from satin or silk, these make it easier to spot the non-religious relatives. When the sexton chooses who gets the honors, he looks around at the Bar Mitzvah guests and knows that these people with the satin kippah perched on the top of their gelled hair are not the ones to call up to the Torah.
You are a thief. You stole this from the hotel. We know this because the name of the hotel is on the kippah.
The Black & White Yarmulke
I came across this design at a Jewish peace rally. Not to be confused with the black and white cookie, the cloth is not edible. Half is made of velvet and half is crocheted. This yarmulke has brought no peace between the different movements, as it is the ugliest kippah ever made and nobody wants to be seen wearing it. For a moment though, many Jews united in hatred of this kippah.
This is similar to the Carlebach in size. However, it has a little tassel on the top of it. It's white and worn by many Jerusalem Chasidim, along with many NaNach Breslovers. You can find the sleeper without the tassel, but that makes it harder to hang near the bed.
No NaNach would wear the non-tasseled Sleeper. Nothing beats jumping out of the van at the traffic light with the tassel and Payis flying to modern disco thumping and lyrics of 'Nachman MeyUman. Rebbe Nacham MeyUman.'
Along with the baseball cap, this is used as Jewish camouflage when traveling. It's also a great way to show solidarity with the religious Jewish women who have to walk around with the discomfort of a wig.
To note, the toupee doesn't lessen the sweat.
Yarmulke designs are endless. You can get the silk kippah if you have no style. The knit coaster, easily crocheted in five minutes, when you need a kippah on the go. The knit coaster is tiny and is great if you enjoy the sensation of a fly on your head. Though many say the size is not Kosher, this yarmulke is the easiest to fit the Tefillin over. Now, I ask who is more religious.
Many wear a Fez when they want to make the political statement that they are pro-Morocco. I even purchased a camouflage design, but the green does not camouflage baldness. For this reason, I now camouflage with the velvet. And the designs go on with the Hesder Yeshiva large knit, the bandana for sports, the hardened velvet cone style for people with weirdly shaped heads. There's so much you can do with a kippah. You can fold it over and make a Hamentash. You can even write your political opinions on it, if the kippah is not clear enough.
Whatever you decide, choose your kippah and political statement wisely, and look decent. Be sure to pick the right kippah, so you don't end up marrying the person. Know who you want to marry and pick out the right kippah so that everybody knows what you really think about them.
Next time, we will talk about where to place the Kippah on your head, so that you don't look like a heretic.
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My kids take after me. Due to Kibud Av vEim, they always let me take first.
You get it? ‘Take after me' means to be like their dad. Instead, they let their dad fill his plate first, as per the Mitzvah to honor parents. Very good kids. If we can have a positive influence on the next generation with our puns, that is the blessing.
Giving Tzedakah, I like to know where the charity is going. That charity box in the front is for kids who need help with their artwork.