Keeping it Covered

Wearing a Kippah is a sign of Jewish identity and pride.  It is also a mark of respect, and one of those minhagim that has graduated to becoming a matter of halacha.

Last week a friend of the Perth Yeshivah spoke at the Beit Midrash and told a wonderful story about a kiddush Hashem that occured due to his Kipah.  He suggested that a book be compiled of similar stories as a project of the Yeshivah, and this will now come to fruition.  I look forward to contributing, as do many others.

It is perhaps a timely topic for Perth at the moment, because standards have been slipping.  If a member of our community stepped into a Mosque, no doubt they would not hesitate to respect the customs by removing their shoes, as they rightly should.  However what possible explanation can they have for disrespecting their own tradition?

I have attended several events at Carmel School in recent weeks.  An assembly which included a Dvar Torah, a classroom presentation that included Tefillah, including reading the Shema.  A concert where religious music was played.  At each occasion a number of parents were present with bare heads.  What sort of example does this set for our children, and what sort of standard is this for a Modern Orthodox school?  I realise that it is the parents fault, not that of the school, but it is in all respects a communal disgrace that this is acceptable.  It would be simple for the school to have a box of Kippot available and to make public requests for heads to be covered where religious Jewish content is concerned.  It is already written into the rules of the school, but the administration seems oblivious to that and unwilling to enforce the standard or even make an effort.  Hopefully this will change.

We have a wonderful team of volunteers who oversee our security on Shabbat and at community events.  Yet they are prepared to stand outside with no head covering.  Moreover, some of them enter Shule, open the Aron Hakodesh and spend time inside the building without a second thought that their head is uncovered.

We have presentations at the Jewish centre, where community leaders and heads of organisations are often present with dignitaries.  I found it ridiculous at one recent event that several non-Jewish invited guests sought to wear a Kippah as a mark of respect, yet their hosts, ambassadors of the Community and Presidents of our Organisations,,did not feel that the same courtesy was necessary.

Bottom line, if we don’t respect our own tradition, how can we expect other people to respect our tradition?  It is high time we improved the standard of communal conduct, starting with sniut and appropriate head covering through public Jewish events. 

 

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