- "Kippah" is Hebrew. It means "covering." Easy enough.
- "Yarmulke" is Yiddish, derived from the two Aramaic words "yarei d'malka" which means "reverence for the King" - like, you wear it to demonstrate that there's someone above you. Like as in Someone, like as in God. This explains why guys are supposed to wear one - they are less likely to get that there is a God above. More likely to believe that they are God's gift to humanity - or God himself.
- Epithets such as "beanie," "Jew-hat" etc. Fill in your own. When you or your kid walk around in public with the thing on, you get some interesting comments!
So some people wear them full-time, and some wear them part-time, and some wear them for religious experiences only. Here are 5 excellent reasons to don the thing.
- To cover your bald spot. Interestingly, some men's yarmulkes (I shall defer to this name as it's the one I'm most used to) grow as their hair shrinks. Draw your own conclusions.
- As an act of solidarity with men who have bald spots. YOUR hair may be thick and the object of envy, but you don the yarmulke to show support to those friends of yours who have not much hair. Who really has a bald spot? Only your hairdresser knows for sure.
- Nervous habit. Much more pleasant than biting your nails or clearing your throat, adjusting your yarmulke is the perfect nervous habit. Whether you're twisting it on your head (??), moving it higher, lower, or somewhere else entirely, just make sure you don't give away what's under it (see #2). This works particularly well at uncomfortable meetings and while public speaking.
- Religious affiliation. Your yarmulke declares where on the Ortho-spectrum you fall. Black velvet? Yeshivish. White knit? Modern-Orthodox/Religous Zionist. Browns football motif? Hmmm. Not sure. In any case, it's a quick and easy way to avoid a theological conversation surrounding where your sympathies lie. Conversely, you can use this to keep 'em guessing. One day wear one variety, and next another. Show your open-mindedness.
- Family ties. Trying to get into Uncle Louie's good graces? Wear the green one from his kid Joey's bar mitzvah. Planning on asking great grandma for a loan for your new business venture? Wear the pink one from her wedding. Tip: pretend you didn't realize you were wearing it.
What do you say readers? Why do you, or don't you, wear a yarmulke?