Dear Rabbi,

I do not observe many of the Jewish traditions including the kosher dietary laws and the complete observance of the Sabbath.

Can I still cover my head with a kippah (skullcap)? I would like to begin doing so but have refrained so far for fear of appearing hypocritical.


You most certainly can!

Each good deed and Jewish observance is counted on its own merit. Just because a Jew doesn't yet do "A" doesn't mean he or she shouldn't start doing "B."

This can be applied to any Jewish observance, but allow me to explain why it applies even more so when it comes to wearing a kippah.

The Value of Uniforms

Why do so many jobs require a uniform?

1) A uniform is a constant reminder of what the job entails.

All it takes is a simple glance at the shirt and you remember you are a fireman, doctor, or Best Buy employee. Hopefully, that makes you think twice before pulling out your cellphone to text during work hours.

2) A uniform makes for a more professional worker.

You're not just a regular person. You work for a corporation or an organization. While wearing the uniform, you represent the face of that corporation. Confidence grows when you know who you are and what you represent.

3) The uniform signifies that one works for the company.

Slacks, a pressed shirt, and name tag stand out at Walmart (Though, as a Rabbi, I can’t count the number of times I have been asked for the hardware aisle despite not having the badge!)

A kippah does the very same thing. It reminds us about our identity and hopefully makes us think twice before we do anything questionable. It builds our Jewish pride and gives us the courage to stand up for our values. Finally, it helps us fulfill our global mission of being “a light amongst the nations.”

Note that there may be times where it is sensible to cover the kippah, such as if one needs to enter a non-kosher facility, because a visible kippah may give off the impression that the place is in fact kosher.

Please see What's Up With the Kippah? from our selection on the Jewish head covering.

Yours truly,

Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar
Ask the Rabbi @ The Judaism