Kippot (Head Coverings) in Synagogue

Changing trends in the use or non-use of a head covering in synagogue has been an indicator of changing relations with the surrounding community.

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In modern times the headdress is an indispensable part of the Jew's attire at worship. It is quite unthinkable for anyone to enter an Orthodox or Conservative synagogue, let alone participate in the worship, with an uncovered head.

When the Reform movement was launched in the last century, the head covering at prayer was abolished. Hatless worship in the Reform synagogues became a mark of distinction and a barrier between the Reform and the other branches of Judaism no less than the theological differences and the liturgical changes. [But in many Reform synagogues, head covering is now the norm.]

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Rabbi Abraham Ezra Millgram (1900-1998) served as a congregational rabbi, a Hillel director, and from 1945 to 1961, Educational Director of the Commission on Jewish Education of the United Synagogue of America. During several decades of active retirement in Jerusalem, he published a number of books, including Jerusalem Curiosities (Jewish Publication Society) and A Short History of Jerusalem (Jason Aronson).