- The kippah is the head-covering worn by Jewish males.
- The source for the kippah is the Talmud where it is stated that a G-d fearing man doesn’t walk bare-headed.
- The wearing of a kippah started as a custom and has become a very strong one in religious communities. This is due to the fact that wearing a Kippah is viewed by religious people as an opportunity to sanctify G-d’s name.
- Kippot (plural of Kippah) come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Jewish people often identify the stream of Judaism that a people affiliates with by the head covering he wears although this was certainly not the reason for Kippot.
It is interesting to note the changing attitude in American secular law towar
ds the Jewish head covering
In 1986 it was decided that any active military member was obligated to remove his Kippah indoors. The response of the Congress was to propose an amendment called the Religious Apparel Amendment. The Amendment stated that religious head coverings could be worn as long as they were “neat and conservative”, barring extreme circumstances. The Religious Apparel Amendment wasn’t passed for two years.
In 1983 the Jewish Navy Chaplain Arnold Resnicoff succeeded in portraying the Kippah in a positive light. During the Lebanese Civil War two truck bombs exploded in separate buildings which housed American and French military forces killing 299 American and French servicemen. Arnold Resnicoff was present at the time of the bombings and famously tore off a piece of Marine Corps uniform to replace his Kippah which was soaked in blood after he had used it to wipe the face of wounded marines.
The story of Resnicoff’s camouflage Kippah was read into the Congressional Record. This amendment eventually made its way into a Department of Defense Instruction called The Accommodation of Religious Practices within the Military Services.
It is related that President Ronald Reagan met with “American Friends of Lubavitch” in the White House. To the surprise of those present the President told them the story of Resnicoffs’ Kippah and then asked for the meaning behind it. Rabbi Abraham Shemtov explained, “Mr. President, the Kippah to us is a sign of reverence”. A colleague by the name of Rabbi Feller continued, “We place the Kippah on the very highest point of our being- on our head, the vessel of our intellect- to tell ourselves and the world that there is something which is above man’s intellect- the infinite wisdom of G-d.”