December 14, 2015

Kippah and Tallit

The kippah, also known as a yarmulke or skullcap, is the traditional head covering worn by Jewish men and boys. We request that every male, whether Jew or non-Jew, wear a head covering as a sign of reverence and respect in the Sanctuary and while studying. We encourage all women to do the same, although it is not traditionally required. Everyone who receives a ritual honor, such as an aliyah or ark opening, must wear a head covering.

The tallit is a prayer shawl that resembles the style of garment worn in ancient Israel. The religious significance of the tallit lies in the fringes tied at each of its corners. They are intended to remind the wearer of all God’s mitzvot (commandments) and to fulfill them. The strings and knots of each fringe combine to symbolize the 613 commandments in the Torah.

The tallit is worn during the morning service, but not during the afternoon or evening services (except on Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av). While most men are aware of the tradition of wearing a tallit, it is less familiar to many women. Here at Brith Sholom, where it is an option, you will see some women with and others without a tallit.

Children do not wear a tallit until they become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Kippot, little lace caps, and tallit are available at the entrance to the Sanctuary.