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Yarmulke/Kippah

The Hebrew word kippah, yarmulke in Yiddish, refers to a head covering that functions as an outward sign of Jewish identity. The exact derivation of these terms is uncertain, but Rabbi Joseph Telushkin postulates that yarmulke is a combination of the two Aramaic words yarei and me'elokha (“one who fears God”). Over time and throughout Jewish diasporic life, kippah has taken on a multiplicity of meanings, oftentimes representing conflicting views of Jewish Halakha (“law”) and attesting to developed minhag (“custom”). There is no halakhic mandate on the fabric, size, shape, and color of a kippah. There even is no halakhic injunction that one needs to wear it constantly or whether it is solely for men. Even within each movement, traditions are not static. What is ...

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