By David Berkowitz from New York, NY, USA (Berkowitz_250) [CC BY 2.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By David Berkowitz from New York, NY, USA (Berkowitz_250) [CC BY 2.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Head coverings are a primary statement of religious identity for the majority of Jews.

A kippah is a brimless cap worn by Jews. It is usually made of cloth. Also known by the Yiddish name, yarmulkes, Jews wear them to fulfill the religious obligation of keeping the head covered all the time. In the United States, a ready supply of kippot are kept for visitors at most of the synagogues and Jewish funeral services for temporary use. About one-third of the Jewish men in Israel wear these caps. The caps come in various styles. A majority of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews wear the large black fabric kippot.

Most of the Masorti (traditional) Jews wear the knitted/black crocheted kippot. Common among Dati (religious/modern Orthodox) Jews are the patterned/colored crocheted kippot and the small black fabric kippot. Among the rest of the Israeli Jews who do not wear a head covering, 73% are Hiloni (secular) Jews and 27% are Masorti Jews. A majority of the Dati and Haredi Jewish men wear a yarmulke or a shtreimel or a fedora. 42% of the Masorti Jewish men wear a head covering, 57% do not. Hilonim Jews do not wear any sort of religious head coverings.

In Israel, wearing a kippah every day is a statement of religious identity. However, select types of kippot can also be seen as the expression of the political views of the person wearing it. For instance, a Jew wearing a knitted kippah, known as kippah sruga, might be seen as a religious Zionist. 63% of the Jewish men who wear the patterned knitted/colored kippot admits that they are Zionists. 65% of the Jewish men who wear patterned knitted/colored/crocheted kippot are of the opinion that Arabs should leave Israel. 58% of them believes that it is not possible for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist.

70% of the Jewish men who wear the black crocheted kippot and 58% of the Jewish men who wear the patterned crocheted/colored kippot in Israel are on the political right. 65% of the Jewish men who wear the small black fabric kippot and 55% of Jewish men who do not wear any head coverings are political centrists. 12% of the Jewish men who do not wear any head coverings identify themselves as being on the political left.

In many of the traditional Jewish communities, women wear head coverings after marriage. The head coverings may be hats, wigs or scarves. Many of the women wear the head coverings only when they enter a synagogue. A lot of Jewish women do not even wear one at all.

All the above figures are according to the Pew Research Center survey. The Pew Research Center is an American nonpartisan research organization based in Washington D.C. The organization conducts surveys and provides information on social issues and demographic trends shaping the U.S. and the rest of the world.

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