wearing a yamulka in a professional setting

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  • #2004645
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    This issue was briefly touched upon in the MO tread that was shut down, [Thank You Mod].
    Question was raise about wearing a Yulmulka in a business setting, I think this is more a generational issues vs a hashkafa issue, the younger generation feeling more comfortable wearing a yalmuka in busniess setting, although you had the Twerski Brothers wearing chasidish levush in both a medical and legal setting.
    I am not asking about the halachik angle of this, just peoples prospectives

    #2004709
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    My dad (born in the 30’s) was always hesitant to wear a yarmulka in public, he always wore a cap. I remember my mom explaining it (in the 80’s)as a generational thing . Even so, when I was fixed up with med students back when few doctors wore yarmulkes, I wouldn’t consider a boy who went bare headed.

    #2004712
    Benephraim
    Participant

    My father in law’s Rebbe ,the Maharam Brisk wrote on this topic with respect to the Hungarian milieu. RMF deals with it in the IM with respect to an American milieu. As the world turns NB the PM wears it but MB a”h did not.

    #2004724
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    An interesting perspective on the issue and the deeply personal choices involved came 35 years ago when Nat Lewin, one of the most outstanding appellate lawyers in the U.S. (and himself a frum yid whose zeida was the Chief rabbi of Rzeszow) argued a case before the Supreme Court on whether the military could prohibit any religious-based head coverings. (For those not familiar, Lewin had an eclectic client roster including, Richard Nixon, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Z’tl, Jodie Foster, John Lennon and Shlomo Rubashkin)

    The particular case focused on a frum psychologist working in a military hospital who wanted to wear a yarmulke at work. Lewin argued that that the First Amendment guaranteed Dr. Goldman the free exercise of religion and thus should have been granted an exemption from the Air Force’s dress code. He stressed that the yarmulke was ”a neat, small, personal article of clothing that does not interfere with any military mission.” Lewin’s personal practice at the time was to not always wear a yarmulke in Court but in response to a question, he pulled his kipah out from his pocket and held it up to make his point that it would not interfere with his clients work in the hospital

    But the government and several Justices, including then Justice Renquist, expressed concern that an exemption for yarmulkes might defeat the goal of the uniformity which Renquist noted terminology was to help foster discipline and morale and to
    make everybody look alike.” Other Justices invoked the multiple religious groups in the U.S. and their respective head wear requirements, some of which were potentially problematic with the military mission.
    In response, Lewin said a Sikh turban might be different constitutionally from a yarmulke, ”because it’s larger.” Finally, Justice Stevens pushed back at Lewin and asked whether his client’s religious beliefs might be satisfied by ”wearing a toupee.” Lewin said it would. But when Justice White asked why Dr. Goldman could not just solve the problem and wear a toupee instead of a yarmulke, Lewin remained silent for a moment and then responded with one of the great lines of modern Court History.
    ”Well, because he’s not bald” at which point the transcript shows extended laughter….
    There have been many frum yidden who made personal decisions that wearing a kipah would complicate their workplace relationships, prejudice their clients’ interests, etc while others felt exactly the opposite and insisted on their right to do so without restrictions from their employer, government or private sector. It might have been easier in an earlier generation when just about everyone wore a hat or cap of some sort and a yid doing so was not readily identifiable as a frum yid. Today, it stands out more but the younger generation seems so much more confident in their own expression of their yiddeshkeit.

    #2004725

    I agree with the generational approach. People who remember ravaging anti-semitism, whether in Russia, Germany, or USA, behave accordingly. Also, the “melting pot” pre-60s view made it very difficult not to look like others, and corresponding reaction from others. Even in our time, Jews in Paris, I think are more careful walking around identifying openly as Jews.

    Years ago, someone finishing medical school, sporting a kippah, of course, had an interview with a doctor in NYC. The doctor did not have a kippah, but at some point walkling around hospital, he oured himself a cup of water, went with this guy into an empty office, closed the door, and took a kippah from his pocket to say a brocha.

    #2004726
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I was the only one who wore a Yarmulka when I worked in Chemical Bank in the seventies. I once said, that it indicates we have a burden on the head so we cannot do everything we want. I heard from Rav Shulman who answered the question, how big should a yarmuka be? He said, it should be big enough to cover your brain.
    If his job depends on it, he can remove it in his work place.

    #2004727
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    “I am not asking about the halachik angle of this, just peoples prospectives”

    This is a halachik and hashkafic question. The fact that it can be opened for discussion based on perspective or any other factor other than halacha and hashkafa is a very good example of MO mentality.

    #2004749
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Absolutely generational. In my workplace mincha you can see a clear age line in who puts in a yarmulka when they come in and who is wearing one already.

    In previous generations there was a lot of anti-semitism and anti-frumkeit that people had to deal with. So Chaim Goldberg became clean shaven Harry Gold who is a vegetarian. Baruch Hashem it isn’t nearly as much of an issue today as it used to be. People feel more comfortable being openly frum and aren’t afraid that there will be some form of backlash for it.

    #2004751

    i have worn my yarmulke sice i started working. my great uncle (a cpa) wore his to some clients and not to others. he was niftar in 1983.

    #2004797
    ujm
    Participant

    You can thank, surprisingly, the Satmar Rebbe for this generational change. When he came to America virtually no one walked the streets in highly distinctive Jewish garb. Yet he dressed publicly in America no different than he did in Europe. I’m full Chasidishe regalia from bekishe to shtreimal. In the early years many people were afraid to walk near him in the street. Others were simply embarrassed to see this old country Jew walking around like it was 100 years back. Yet today the streets of America are full of people who look like how he dressed in public when it was unheard of.

    #2004803
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @Aviria, I was asking for personal prospectives, if I needed a halacha take on it I would ask my LOR, just as I ask my personal doctor a medical question.
    FYI I am a chasidisher yingerman from rebbisher stock not a MO, but you need to do something about your deep hate of MO

    #2004814
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    The fact that people felt and acted differently in previous times regarding yarmulkes is history; the issue itself though, is a hashkofa and halacha issue – of what relevance is there to note how someone or another feels about it?

    People used to not be careful about lashon hora – as in it was an unheard-of meis mitzvah. Of what value were the people’s feelings as to the definition and application of our understanding of the issue? Granted it’s not a clear violation, but it is subject to halachik and hashkafic discussions in the poskim. They didn’t take into consideration what average baalebatim felt, so why should we?

    #2004815
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    By framing it as either generational or hashkofic, you are saying that it’s possible to view a halachikally sensitive issue in a lense that strips it of that dimension – I’m sorry, but that’s very sketchy. For a torah Jew, there isn’t a non-halachik perspective worth contemplating

    #2004833

    There is a Gemora that a youngele is coming to see, I think, Rav Yehudah, who asks him why he has no sudar on his head. He replies that he is not married, and R Yehudah turns away from him in disapproval… It seems, superficially, that expectations were for only married guys to wear the head-covering, but also stricter expectations on getting married, so it may be same at the end …
    Of course, this is not a complete proof, as some interpret this as sudar being on top of a hat on top of kippah. Not sure if we have other similar cultural references

    #2004834
    mizmor
    Participant

    “ They didn’t take into consideration what average baalebatim felt…”

    I have a concern that you don’t fully grasp the process of Poskening. Being that you are not a Posek it is quite reasonable that you don’t understand the awesome depth of the process, and all that is taken into consideration.

    #2004845
    puttinginmy2cents
    Participant

    In the 1940’s, orthodox Jewish lawyers did not wear their yamulkas at work and definitely not in court. A lawyer I knew that was working on the legal papers to establish BMG in Lakewood, was to have a meeting with Rav Kotler. The meeting was to be in the lawyer’s office. The lawyer was in a quandary – does he or does he not, wear his yamulka? The Rosh Yeshiva is coming to his office. When the Rosh Yeshiva entered the office and saw the lawyer with his yamulka, he told the lawyer, “If you wear the yamulka in the office all the time, fine. If you’re wearing it because the Rosh Yeshiva is here, take it off”.

    #2004849
    jerkoq12
    Participant

    Years ago you couldn’t get an order for your company from any major US corporation if you had a jewish name. Example Ralph Lifshitz changed his name to Ralph Lauren. I also know of an old doctor that couldn’t get into Colombia Hospital with his jewish name.

    #2004858

    Avira> what relevance is there to note how someone or another feels about it? …
    They didn’t take into consideration what average baalebatim felt, so why should we?

    How someone feels can definitely affect a psak. Simple cases are in Gemora when a new Derabonan needs some time to see if people will accept it. And we also have halochos that are based on how we expect people to behave. for a random example (hi Beitza 2!) a suggestion that yom tov requires more gedorim than Shabbos because people might be laxer about it. I would venture to say, if Rabbis would not think of how people could make mistakes, then there will be no need for gedorim at all.

    A recent example I read somewhere – there was a yeshiva bocher in Old Country who dared to (mistakenly) say “no tachanun today” during davening. The Gabbai called him up and “respectfully” suggested to take a place near the bimah. In exactly same case in modern Israel, R Ouerbach whispered to the gabbai “skip the tachanun” not to embarrass the person. So, halakha of tochacha in this case depends on where the person, and society in general, holds.

    #2004870
    ujm
    Participant

    The real question is, in Europe did frum Yidden ever go around bareheaded?

    What happened in America when there were few frum Yidden, and what did exist was always shvach, is no example.

    #2004873
    ujm
    Participant

    CS: Please stop referencing your Rebbishe ancestors in an attempt to kasher your modernized hashkafos that have no bearing on how your holy ancestors conducted themselves. You aren’t the first whose Yeridos Hadoros was blatantly obvious.

    #2004832
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @Avira, Two things are very obvious, you never got over that fact that you were raised MO and you have a deep hate for MO, I think you need to do something about it its an unhealthy obsession.
    I am a Chasidisher Yingerman and I have friends that run the gamit from Vasser Zokin to Kippa Segruga and I respect all of them.
    Second you never interacted in the world at large and never knew people are professional and do/ dont wear yarmulkes, so your take on this not relevant.

    #2004947
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    I have a relative who is a doctor, and does not wear a yarmulka in the office, despite the fact that most of his patients are frum Jews. I once asked him why. He told me, “When I would bend over to examine them, it would always fall off! I’m bald so I can’t use clips. So I asked my Rav, and he told me there’s no problem taking it off for that reason.”
    When he’s speaking with a patient, not doing an exam, he’ll put it back on. It’s only while conducting exams that he removes it.

    #2004950
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    It is a machlokes between the RMA whose view is that it is a midas chasidus to cover the head and the Taz that currently it is worn against the issur of bechukosehem, following non–jewish behavior as respect is shown by removing the head covering. The Maharshag says that the person’s trust becomes questionable.

    #2004992
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    It’s convenient to ignore logic and go after ad hominem attacks instead…i think everyone here has known shomer shabbos people who do not wear yarmulkahs at work – like I wrote elsewhere, i have a relationship with a board member of KAJ who is one such person, and I have a lot of respect for him, as he is a ben torah who learns a lot.

    To disregard a clearly logical stance because you think it’s coming from a place of resent is not indicative of a capacity for analytical thinking, but rather from our secular culture’s view that one is incapable of discussing matters such as women’s issues if kne is not a woman, or perceived racism if one is not a member of the race being targeted. I also can’t care less if you’re chasidish, or what color socks you wear, or your yichus – if you’re saying something that’s not hashkafically sound, I’ll respond, but not on an ad hominem level.

    You’ve yet to respond to my logical assertion that asking a question about a hashkafically sensitive topic while giving an option to answer based on a perspective that strips said question from its hashkafic context undermines said hashkofic context.

    #2004999
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    AAQ – i think you gave the answer to your own question by saying that chazal take into consideration how people feel when making gezeros – they do! Because they’re making gezeros. A rov applying said gezeros cannot say “well, nowadays people feel a need to swim at the beach on shabbos, so let’s invent some ad hoc halachik device allowing them to”. Likewise when manhigim enact rules such as chasunah takanos, or filtering standards, they definitely have the feelings and reactions of their constituents in mind; not their opinions though.

    Here we have a question about something that is discussed in the poskim as based on sugyos in shas – these discussions are unrelated to people’s feelings entirely.

    #2005043
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    “Please stop referencing your Rebbishe ancestors in an attempt to kasher your modernized hashkafos…”

    UJM: Your online musar is always so respectful, non-judgemental and elegantly stated. If I ever need someone to organize and present a shmooze on applicable halacha for “kashering my Rebbishe ancestors”, I’ll be sure to get in touch. In the interim, many of us will continue to rely upon our modernishe hashkafos, as informed by our own family histories and advice from our LORs, with full realization of your psak

    #2005041
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @avira, talk about the pot calling the kettle black, attacking people on a personal level is very much your MO [ modus operandi not modern oth. no pun intended], read back some of you war stories that you posted and some of the put down that you used [ such as sin-agogue] and tell me its not coming from bottled up anger, and this is obsession should be addressed.
    All of us here [with one execption and he is very vocal about it] when confronted with a halachic/ haskafic issue will turn a his/her morah deasra and get guidance on it. Therefore I specificly wanted to avoid this whole angle of it and focus on what is / was out there, you dont like the topic dont comment on it.

    #2005048
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    When I said i refrain from ad hominem attacks, i meant in conversation and debating someone else – I don’t dismiss others’ opinions solely by saying “feh, you’re goyish”, because that’s not convincing – true as it may be.

    If you wanted to discuss the issue from a historical and sociological perspective (which is what you’re now claiming) I wouldn’t have objected, because there’s nothing wrong with reporting facts about what people did and do – I’d think it were fruitless, but not coming from a treife hashkofa.

    Instead you opened with a question, is it hashkafic or generational – you opened up the possibility that the issue is not halachikally sensitive and is just a cultural thing, like how we changed from turbans to black hats. I responded by saying that you can’t divorce a hashkafically sensitive issue from its hashkafic context

    #2005049
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “It’s convenient to ignore logic and go after ad hominem attacks instead…”

    Lol. Is a great summary of most of your posts.

    Take a look at this thread.

    The OP asked a simple question:

    “Question was raise about wearing a Yulmulka in a business setting, I think this is more a generational issues vs a hashkafa issue, the younger generation feeling more comfortable wearing a yalmuka in busniess setting,”

    He clarifies “I am not asking about the halachik angle of this,”
    meaning the wasn’t cooking for a halachic stance. It could be that all who do not wear a yarmulka are violating all 613 mitzvos with every breath and chayiv al 4 misas beis din. That in no way changes his question.

    Sure its fair to point out that they are reshaim (if you believe that to be the case) or to offer possible reasons for why the shift took place (Satmar influence for example)

    But the question is a fair one
    If you don’t think his question is relevant (“of what relevance is there to note how someone or another feels about it?”) ignore it. I find many threads irrelevant, I ignore them. There is no law that requires you to hijack every thread with your “look how much frummer I am”-hangups, save it for your therapist

    As to the OP
    It does seem to be a generational divide more so than a “frumkeit” divide. I know several older doctors who do not wear yarmulkas at work while younger (even more modern ones) do.

    #2005062
    Avi K
    Participant

    At one time in Europe as well as in America Jews did not walk outside bareheaded because no one did. A hat came with one’s suit. Workers wore caps. Jews did not work in non-Jewish offices so the subject did not start. In New York, I worked with several observant Jews who did not wear kippot at work. When I decided to start wearing one a black woman asked me if I had been “elevated”. Apparently, she thought that it was some kind of clerical garb.

    #2005119
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    “I think this is more a generational issues vs a hashkafa issue”

    I think this is very clear; then he turned around and said he’d ask vis rabbi if he should wear a yarmulkah

    #2005129
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Avi – congratulations on the decision to wear a yarmulkah to work, chazal ve’amatz! Actually, your story echoes to rav moshe’s reason for paskening that even without the taz, there is a chiyuv to wear a yarmulkah even while working nowadays, because it’s seen as the symbol of observant jews. That’s why most yekkies changed, but some very close talmidim of rav breur(like my friend) continue to follow the way they went in Germany.

    #2005143
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @ujm, “your modernized hashkafos” I have no clue what are talking about, please explain

    #2005181
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    CS: From UJM’s perspective, the yiddeshe velt outside his virtual sheteitel is binary in terms of those whose beliefs are either (i) mamash apikorsus or (ii) some variation of modernishe hashkafah (which is nearly as bad but not chayav misah).

    #2005338
    Nochum Dokshitz
    Participant

    I believe that it is not a question that a yid must wear a yamulka. minhag yisroel torah hi. i know that the baal hatanya says that halachakly were a yamulka and you shouldnt walk 4 amos without it. i believe most others disagree.

    #2005345

    ujm> The real question is, in Europe did frum Yidden ever go around bareheaded?

    there seems to be a very inconsistent usage of this argument. In many cases, we have no problems changing what they did “in Europe”, or in previous centuries – eating glatt, dressing up kids as Talmidei Chachamim, getting news from social media, sending a mass of people to yeshivos instead of working, sending girls to schools, relying on tzedokah or even non-Jewish welfare, making 100 shuls abd shtibles with different minhagim in the same place, following minhagim from schools instead of parents, switching to “nusach sefard”. Hope I did not miss anyone :).

    I am not arguing that these changes have no reason behind them, just that we do change things, so using the “tradition” argument is not that easy.

    #2005408
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Whether its a “minhag’, required by halacha, or a self-imposed chumrah, the reality is that the younger generation seems more comfortable with openly declaring their yiddishkeit than many of their parents and grandparents. I’m most impressed by the large number of kids with kipahs on college campuses where the leftist and anti-Israel agendas of many faculty and students seems to equate wearing a kipah with support for the policies of EY. I’d assume a yeshivish bochur would always wear a hat or kipah as a matter of course. When a MO bochur wears one in in venues that are not always the most “friendly” I’m especially impressed.

    #2005418
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @nachum, I guess you have an issue with reading comprehension, I wrote this is NOT about the halachic aspect, just the use or lack thereof in a professional setting and other headcoverings such a caps, toupee etc, and is it more a generational thing or a a lifestyle thing

    #2005503
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    So we change from “is it generational or hashkofic?” To “only discuss the sociological aspects” to “is it generational or lifestyle”
    You’ve reinvented this topic 3 times

    Perhaps it’s more about looking down on how snooty and holier than thou the frummer yidden are, which of course itself is a form of snootery and holier than thou-ism

    #2005641
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @avrira, Other then you and Nachum everyone seems to get that we are not talking about the halacha/ hashkafa aspects of this, like one of the poster wrote earlier you dont have to post on every thead, if this thread is something your not interested in, so skip it

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