What kind of kippah is this?
January 12, 2018 10:39 PM   Subscribe

My dad got me a kippah in Israel. It's loosely hand-crocheted [photo here]. I've seen modern orthodox and conservative Jews wear ones that are tightly knit, but not one like this. Who would normally wear this style?
posted by cichlid ceilidh to Religion & Philosophy (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've seen plenty of hand crocheted and otherwise handcrafted kippot worn by folks at various reform services. My rabbi growing up had a whole collection of them that she wore for different occasions throughout the year. A covered head is a covered head.

I imagine that if you have a lot of hair that the openness of the crochet would make it easier to get it very secure with a few pins, if that's ever a concern for you.
posted by Mizu at 2:33 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I grew up raised reform and people wore all kinds of kippahs to synagogue, including ones like this. There were no prescribed styles or anything that I was aware of.
posted by cyphill at 6:34 AM on January 13

I'm aware that reform Jews basically just wear what they want (I was raised reform and would feel fine wearing this whenever I make my way to temple). However, most kippot are traditionally associated with different non-reform groups.

Anyone can wear a black velvet kippah, but it's usually suggests they are haredi or chasidic. I'm curious who that group is for this style, especially because my dad got it in Israel.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 7:16 AM on January 13

Here's a chart from Pew research about who wears what kind of kippah styles in Israel.
Dati and Masorti are generally equivalent to the American Modern Orthodox and Conservative sects, respectively. There is quite a bit of information about the political leanings of Israelis who wear "kippa sruga" (knitted kippot) in the article. More about the sects.

Enjoy your kippah! May you wear it in good health.
posted by zarq at 7:23 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]

The Forward has a slightly more extensive taxonomy than what zarq posted, but I'm not seeing anything quite like yours--I agree that it basically looks like a kippa sruga, but with thicker yarn than one usually sees.
posted by damayanti at 7:49 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

It also covers much more of the head than any kippah sruga I've seen. If you tried to clip it (which it doesn't need to stay on), the clip would be on the side of your head. Maybe it has no particular community association.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:43 AM on January 13

Shabbat shalom! In the U.S., hippies/Carlebachians wear this style of kippah! Not sure about Israel.
posted by 8603 at 9:36 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Additional searching suggests that this may be a variant of the "frik" style kippot that Breslov Jews wear. Not clear what frik (?פריק) means.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 11:58 AM on January 13

Breslov has a little tassel on top, as I recall. Really, the big-yarn kippah like you're showing has no particular movement attached to it.
posted by 8603 at 12:53 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

I happen to own a yarmulke collection, and among the more unusual ones is a blue and white crocheted number from the 70s, with matching blue bobby pin still affixed to it.
posted by Morpeth at 1:57 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

> 8603: "Breslov has a little tassel on top"

That's my recollection, too, but all the online stores I've seen selling ones like mine call them a frik kippah and lump them in with the tasseled nachman ones. e.g. https://www.ajudaica.com/category/82/Frik-Kippah/ (scroll down) explicitly says their origin is breslov.

Anyhow, I think this is resolved but I'll leave it open for yarmulke talk.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 2:25 PM on January 13

Morpeth, any photos of your yarmulke(s)?
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 2:43 PM on January 13

Here on the Upper West Side of NYC, the Orthodox Jews who wear kippot in that style are either hippie / Carlebach types (seconding 8603) and middle-of-the-road Modern Orthodox families where the mom crochets them herself.

I know this is one of those items that can stratify, but as far as I know, other than the fact that no velvet-kippah-wearer or suede-kippah-wearer would be caught dead in them (velvets tending to be more fundamentalist and rigid, suede tending to be more hedge fund managers and ditto), chunky crochet srugies don't tend to have any particular religious meaning.
posted by Mchelly at 3:48 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

suede-kippah-wearer would be caught dead in them (velvets tending to be more fundamentalist and rigid, suede tending to be more hedge fund managers and ditto)

Many Conservative Jews in the US wear suede kippot. I have a drawer full of them.

They're also often the kind most frequently offered as wedding/b'nei mitzvah gifts for guests at our shuls, which means the extras tend to find their ways into the kippa bins that are provided for visitors. This happens most frequently at large, active synagogues. So there's a subtle reinforcement happening. Visitors use those kippot rather than the black or white satin throwaways, and sometimes regulars do as well.

The Forward article is Orthodox-centric. That's not to say it isn't a good article. It is.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Hey, no kidding, maybe "frik" actually does mean freak, as in hippies and freaks. Frik Tel Aviv is a comics shop...take a look at Google.

My ex is an authority on levush, sectarian clothing styles, and has never heard of a frik kippah. Hmm.
posted by 8603 at 5:31 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

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