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I work in an office that is not "kippah-friendly"...

I work in an office that is not "kippah-friendly"...

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Question:

I work in an office that is not "kippah-friendly"; I get the feeling that people are throwing judgmental stares in my direction. I'm torn, and not sure what to do...

Answer:

Let me tell you a simple story: About thirty years ago, a young psychiatrist took up practice in my hometown of Vancouver. His Jewish orthodox friends, some of them doctors, advised him that for the sake of developing the trust of his patients etc. etc., he should not cover his head in the office. He scoffed their advice and wore a kippah.

My father was a court reporter at the time and needed to deliver a transcript to this psychiatrist's office. I'll never forget the tone of his voice over dinner that evening as he described to us his astonishment. "A psychiatrist with a yarmulke! Sitting in his office with a yarmulke!"

For my dad, Judaism had just burst out of its closet. Now anything was possible. It wasn't long before he stopped answering the phone on Shabbat.

The job of a Jew is to change the world, not to make peace with it. It started with Abraham, a man with guts. Be his child.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman for Chabad.org

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Discussion (13)
February 9, 2014
Don't take it off
I'm Muslim, and I know a lot of people might find it realllly weird that I'm joining this discussion or even reading up on Kippah's, but I have really strong views on religious dress and I hope this might help someone out there.

I wear a 'Hijab' or headscarf, and I keep my wardrobe 'Halal' (islamic version of Kosher) - in the sense that I like to make sure all my clothes are modest.

I read a comment here about family/friends not being very pleased with the Kippah.

I have been wearing my Hijab for 4 years now, and to this day family 'friends' and even family members mock me, and all believe they can have a strong view on MY life and MY decisions.

I wear my Hijab for my GOD and my DEEN (religion) Do NOT allow yourself to be ruled by others. I know wearing the Kippah is not a mitzvot, but it's a beautiful outward sign of your inward faith. Anything it 'prevents' you from doing, is probably for your own good. At the end of the day, it's you and God. Everyone else is irrelevant.

Peace
Anonymous
London
September 30, 2013
What do I do about close family that don't like Jews?
I have family members that aren't "kippah-friendly" but I don't want to always have to take it off when they come over. What do I do? I am afraid we'll lose our peace with everyone of us.
Anonymous
Texas
February 29, 2012
Kippa
I believe that even though its not a command to wear a kippa it does make you feel special and set apart. You might not even know the blessing you receive wearing your kippa. I do believe there is a lot of spirituallity in in wearing your kippa.
Wear it and love it!!!
Moshe
Potchefstroom, South Africa
November 1, 2009
Wearing a Kippah
Am pleased that my thread has produced such a positive response. Whilst i would agree with the comment about it being a MItzvah rather than a rule to cover ones head at work or school, nor should it be seen as 'being religious'
These days i wear mine if i feel like it but i certainly would not wear a baseball cap to conceal it. Over The High Holidays i saw lots of Progressive Jewish people queing at a beach bar locally wearing Kipot. Even the Female Rabbi was on the beach with her KIppah in full view, so it is not necessarily a sign of religious leaning but of Jewishness in which we at Chabad and beyond try to encourage.
If anyone has any stories here or stateside where they have found by wearing a KIppah or Tzizit i would be interested to hear. We should walk tall and be proud of our heritage, not try to hide it and this last comment from South Africa proves my point. THis is the 21st Century not the dark ages.
Braham FInestone
Brighton, uk
October 31, 2009
i was warned not to wear a kippa.. but..
last year i went to a well established company for a week's trial. i was told by a friend that someone in a high position in this company had told him in confidence that they did not hire religious Jews; and that he recommends that i do not wear my kippa during the trial.

i wore it because that i feel that it is a great part of me that i am proud of. i landed up getting the job, and have been respected by both irreligious Jews and non-Jews at work , for being me.

it also turns out they had no problem in letting me take off Chagim; leaving work a few minutes early on Fridays in winter to get home before Shabbat; and they even changed the date of the annual end of year party (which for the last few years has been held on a Shababt) especially for me.

so remember the Jews who wore their kippot in times of persecution because they did not care what the world thought
montana6
Jhb, SA
July 2, 2009
Wearing A Kippa at Work
Whilst I personally agree with most of the comments, certainly in Great Britain in today's world it would not be seen as an insult to Christians or anyone else in the workplace, but there is a massive increase in incidents against Jews. For example my Catholic friend came to Shul with me in Leeds one Friday night and forgot to take off his kippa. He was standing outside a supermarket waiting for his friend to collect him to go home and a gang of non-Jews started hurling antisemitic abuse at him. He was horrified and very upset by it.
In London many religious Jewish boys are frightened to wear it at school or work because of being sectioned off as 'Jew Boys'. As I myself do not wear a kippah in the street it would not affect me but I feel for those it does affect. I do not go up to wearers of arab face masks and hurl abuse but this whole argument in Europe is political correctness - the Fascist influence is growing and Moslem women have already a big problem.
David F
Brighton, uk
June 30, 2009
Yasher Koach
I hesitated to begin wearing one at work. My job requires me to be a tough negotiator at times, and I didn't want my Jewishness being blamed for it. I came to see this as wrong, given that most people knew that I was Jewish, and many had seen me on the street in my kippa. I now appreciate that keeping my observance under wraps was unnecessary.
Dovid
Greenwich, CT, US
June 27, 2009
tzitzit is my kippah
we should wear tzitzit for that reminder. after all is it a mitzvah to remind ourselves to be righteous at all times? G-d does not care what you think he cares only what you do. and if wearing a kippah makes you feel that he is above you to remind you not to transgress, then that is the blessing of G-d. Wearing a kippah is a custom not a law, tzitzit is a law and besides G-d is always near you and beside you, not always above you. Kippah! to remind you to be good in the eyes of the lord and if kippah does that for oneself - fellow Jew i will see you at the gates of heaven :) I believe that we are all jews we just dont know it yet and that everyone wearing a baseball cap is jewish just disguised as non-jewish kippah.
Anonymous
askelon, Israel
February 15, 2008
My kipa
I picked up a kipa from Chabad of Irvine, 3 passovers ago, before a visit to my Brother in Monsey. I have yet to take off my kipa. Although I am an aspiring Orthodox Jew, I am not at that level to consider myself where I would like to be in my faith and practice as such. I'm always fighting bad habits and old ways that lead me astray. Still I wear my kipa. No matter what level I may be at, no level will be so low that I will forget Hashem is above me, with me, at all times. So my biggest problem is how do I wear a kipa that the world can see, but while I may not be acting as a proper Jew should act, thereby possibly misleading the naive and hurting the reputations of my fellow Jews. Still I wear my kipa. I find I need little reason to wear it. I need MEGA reason to consider wearing a baseball cap on top. I hate to admit it, but a visit to Carl's Jr. will be baseball hatted, but at work I wear it and have NEVER been judged poorly, or wrongly by anyone that I could tell. Never.
Alek Kirstein
Newport Beach, CA
jewishnewport.com
February 4, 2008
Huge impact
It's amazing that when one Jew makes one decision, it can change the life of all those around.
Robert
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