Converting to Judaism

The Oys and Joys of Choosing A Jewish Life

This Kippah’s a Keeper

on March 11, 2014

So I have a confession to make.

Yesterday, while my boyfriend was sleeping, I put on his kippah.

I’ve been itching to know what it feels like to have one resting on your head for about a month now. I almost snuck one out of the Hillel office last week. But I would have felt bad just putting it on in front of everyone. “Ellie, what are you doing?!” they would ask.

Anyway. I held it in my hands, velvety and dark. I try to imagine what it feels like, and I hesitate. Who am I, a woman and a Gentile, to put on such a thing? I wonder if there’s a prayer that should be said before putting it on, so I make one up quick. The muttered Hebrew mixes with the sound of snoring.

I pause.

Every tiny milestone in Judaism I wish to savor and enjoy, for you can never do something for the first time again.

Then, I settle it on my head.

My first thought is that it’s lighter than I expected. Whenever I see a Jewish person wearing one, his kippah looks so weighty. The next thing I notice is a sense of gravity and comfort. I comprehend how such a simple article conveys a physical sense of separation between me and G-d. I also find the feeling of being beneath something comforting. Like sleeping under a blanket. Secure and covered. Safe.

Lost in thought, I close my eyes. I suddenly see every Jew back through the history of time: men at the East Meadow Jewish Center on Long Island where I go to shul, those in Europe during the Holocaust, those in Israel, those from biblical times. And I feel connected back through time right up until the moment where I stand there, connected to a people I know so deeply but can barely begin to understand.

I open my eyes.

I take the kippah off, a slight smile warming my face with the morning sun, and put it back where I found it.

I didn’t think wearing it would have such a profound effect on me. I can start to understand now how Jews can make them a part of their everyday wardrobe, why they are worn at Shabbat. Light and nearly weightless, but not invisible enough to forget.

A gentle, firm reminder: that I am commanded, that I am Jewish, and that I am yours.

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One response to “This Kippah’s a Keeper

  1. […] you can recall my first blog post, I talked about what it was like when I put a yarmulke (said like yah-mih-kah) on my head for the […]

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