As always when this happens, I have slipped easily and seamlessly back into being the "most Jewish Jew," for lack of a better term, that I can possibly be...and I don't know how I possibly managed to stay away for the months and months that I did. Yesterday I prayed all three times, and I did it again this morning; wearing the arm thingy makes me want to scream from pain, but I can wear the head thingy, and my prayer shawl, and pray; and that is either two and a half commandments out of three, or three commandments out of four, fulfilled.
This morning, after springing out of bed singing the hymn one sings at that moment, I washed my hands ritually, using my gorgeous, expensive cup and towel I got from the Emanuel Judaica site. The cup is brushed metal (purple, my favorite color), a nice sleek design; the towel is cream colored, embroidered with the end words of the blessing for hand washing surrounded by grape clusters. I hadn't used that set in far too long...and it's too beautiful (and too expensive) not to use.
I've also gotten back into writing letters to God. I am limiting myself to two a day because stationery is expensive, but I feel a real connection. Of course actually writing the letter is not praying the letter; I have to read it out loud for God to "hear." I do not think of God this concretely, but lately I've noticed that God and I connect just the tiniest bit before I write, and God "tells me what name to use" for Him/Her in order to foster and nurture further connection.
For a long time after I switched how I signed the letters (I used to sign "Love, Your Girl" but I realized a while back that I am no longer a girl so I switched to "Love from a Young Jewish Woman") I needed to use traditional, Hebrew, masculine names for God. It was as if only one of us could pivot at a time; while I was whirling, God needed to stay still. I'm back on my feet now, with the new signature, and I am now once again addressing God with mystical, feminine titles--and not always Hebrew.
I have decided that I would like four more kippot, all from the Emanuel Judaica site, as my Hannukah gift. (Yes, Hannukah is five months away. I plan in advance and change my mind fifty times.) I think all of the ones I picked out were designed by Yair Emanuel himself. I will post my own picture of them when I get them, but posting their website pictures is a pain, so I will just describe them in the paragraph below.
The first two that I picked out--meaning half the ones I am getting--are painted silk, which doesn't surprise me at all. My very favorite of my "week day" (meaning not gigantic hat size) kippot is painted silk; I adore the look, and only have one. One of the ones I plan to get for Hannukah is called "tribes red," and the other is "Jerusalem turquoise." The other two are embroidered, one silk and one velvet. The silk one is white, with a border of embroidered gray geometric shapes; I've wanted that one for a while now, and I need another white "week day" one (both because white goes with anything and to wear on Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement) since I gave mine to Sami. The last one I picked out, the velvet one, is midnight blue with an ice blue Jerusalem scene border.
The only thing that surprised me about this group of kippot as my favorites right now is that half of them are Jerusalem scenes. There was a time--and it lasted for years--when I always said "I'm not putting Jerusalem on my head. It's fine if you like that look; I don't." Then I fell in love with the Friday-and-holiday-evening size blue and purple embroidered Jerusalem scene kippah that I am getting as part of my college graduation gift, and I decided to make an exception for that one. Then I got something from the Emanuel Judaica site (don't remember what at this point; I've gotten a lot of things from there) and it came with a tag that has--you guessed it--a Jerusalem scene on it. I am using that tag as book mark in my Psalms.
Next, I got a tzedakah box with a Jerusalem scene on it, primarily because it locked and I liked that, but I will admit I enjoyed the traditional motif. If I go through with this Hannukah gift plan--and I really think I will, as it feels so right--I will have five Jewish items with Jerusalem scenes: three kippot, a tzedakah box, and a book mark.
And speaking of kippot, I really want my friend Brian to see my collection. The best way is for me to photograph each one. So I will do that now, and post the photographs below. (PS I couldn't photograph the one on my head, obviously. It's the rust brown one with white menorah border, from Uganda.) (PPS Apparently I lost count...I thought I had 36, but I actually have 37.)
Pink suede, from my Bat Mitzvah. I really don't like the suede ones, and would never choose them now, but at the time I wasn't yet collecting (or even wearing one regularly...) and didn't have style opinions. I did have color opinions--pink and purple--which my parents abided by. Even though they were suede, I saved one of each color (you'll see the purple one farther down), first because they came from my Bat Mitzvah, and second because I plan to only wear suede ones to work once I start teaching; I think they are more business like.
Hand crocheted by my good friend Sami. I paid him a visit to collect the first one he made me (you'll see that farther down too), and as he finished he asked me to pick four colors for another one. I suggested he wait till my birthday so he had a reason. He said: "C'mon, I like crocheting projects! Pick four colors." So I picked out two pinks and two purples; looking at this, I think he actually got in three of each. I wore this kippah every day of my last Ketamine treatment, and it helped tremendously to have something tangible reminding me of a good friend.
Machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel. The website calls this one "pink with pomegranates."
Machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel. The website calls this one "geometric shapes magenta," though that background looks more like burgundy to me.
Red dragon! Handmade, bought from an Etsy seller. There were several dragons available, but I specifically needed the red one to go with undergrad university t-shirts. I don't wear this one very often; when I do, I use strong clips, because it is prone to flipping inside out.
(Please excuse blurriness of photo; my hands shake, especially in the morning, and sometimes that affects my photography.) Machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel. This is actually the first one I got specifically to go with undergrad university t-shirts. The website calls it "flowers magenta," but again, to me that background is more of a burgundy.
"Family heirloom," meaning I found it in the drawer and asked if I could keep it. I think my mother may have worn it at some point when she was briefly trying out wearing a kippah. This one is the "hat size" that I wear, always and only, on Friday nights and holiday nights.
Another "hat size" one, this one machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel. I actually had to buy it twice. The first time, they said they didn't have it, and they would refund me if I gave them my information. I refused. Next time I had money, I tried again, and that time it worked. The only other thing to tell you about this one is that somewhere that looks like part of the embroidery is a tiny burn hole. I was carrying what I thought were dead matches, and reached up to scratch my head...yeah, well, apparently they were not dead.
Now we start the blue ones, Brian's favorite color! I have more blue ones than any other color; in fact, I have...ten daytime blue ones, and 11 if you count my "pajamas kippah." (I will explain that later.) Anyway, this one is navy blue suede, from my high school graduation.
Newer navy blue suede, with notched blue and silver border, from random Bar Mitzvah at synagogue I attend in the city. (I will always take a free kippah...always.)
Royal blue suede, notched red and silver border, from random Bar Mitzvah at synagogue I attend in the city.
Turquoise suede, from random Bar Mitzvah, at synagogue I attend in the city.
Turquoise satin, from random Bat Mitzvah on my undergrad university campus. This is not your average Bat Mitzvah kippah, however. It was handmade by the family, and it has an internal clip. (Not that I ever learned to use the internal clip--I just use regular clips on the outside--but I think the fact of its existence is cool.)
(Again, apologies for the blurry photo.) Turquoise canvas, from random Bat Mitzvah at synagogue I attend in the city. This was actually from the one when I was too sick (not chronic conditions, just sick) to stay in services, and went home...but I made sure to grab the Bat Mitzvah kippah.
When so many of my blue ones are from B'nei Mitzvah (correct plural of Bar-and-Bat-Mitzvahs), this one is the pride and joy of my blue stack. It is--you guessed it--machine embroidered silk by designer Yair Emanuel.
Cheap satin, the kind of kippah my father calls a "Bar Mitzvah beanie" and refuses to wear, from a random Bar Mitzvah at the synagogue I attend in the city. I do not refuse to wear this style, because I mostly refuse to wear the suede ones, and if a person is collecting kippot and wearing one every day, that person cannot afford to boycott two styles.
And another cheap satin "Bar Mitzvah beanie," from a random Bar Mitzvah at the synagogue I attend in the city. If I remember correctly, my father was actually visiting that week, and explained to Sami why Bar Mitzvah beanies are bad.
[And I'll just put this note here: I do have another blue one, a navy blue crochet. It is also from a random Bat Mitzvah at the synagogue I attend in the city...and no, it's not normally affordable to provide crocheted kippot for a Bat Mitzvah's worth of guests. Anyway, I did photograph it, but somehow it wound up at the very end. Oh well. Now you know to look for it there.]
(Another blurry one, and again I apologize. Still, even when the photo is blurry, you can get a general idea of what the kippah looks like.) Kippah s'rugah, translates to crocheted kippah, from Kippah Man on Ben Yehudah street in Jerusalem. I got three there: this one, one as a gift for my brother (and yes, I called him through a seven-hour time difference to discuss what he wanted), and my ultra-Orthodox "yeshiva bucher" one. I originally bought that last one to thumb my nose at the ultra-Orthodox; now I have it for a more important reason, as will be discussed down below.
Lavender suede (and faded now) from college roommate's wedding. That was the only Orthodox wedding I ever attended: long story short, it made me so angry I said to myself that I would only sit through it again for a very dear friend...and so far no very dear Orthodox friends have invited me to their weddings.
Purple suede, from my own Bat Mitzvah. This is not the exact same one, just another one I grabbed for the collection, but for a while when I first started wearing a kippah all the time, I wore one of these. In my passport photo, I am wearing one of these. (I like to remember which kippah I am wearing in which legal photo...I don't know why.)
Hands down, my favorite of my "week day" size ones, second favorite in the entire collection! Hand painted silk by designer Yair Emanuel. The figures are the right colors; the background was supposed to be blue, but somehow I ended up with this fuchsia/magenta instead. At the time I was annoyed--I had specifically wanted another blue one, because at the time I only had one, and I wore a lot of blue--but now I like it better this way. I have other blue ones, and this one is beautiful.
And this one is my favorite...out of 37, my favorite! A kippah as special as this doesn't happen every day. this one is hat size, HAND embroidered...and it cost 35 dollars, which is the reason it doesn't happen every day. This one was a high school graduation gift...I am getting one to rival it as part of my college graduation gift.
This is the first one Sami made for me! I asked for green, because I didn't have a green one yet; and he asked if he could mix yellow...and I pointed out that he was the one making it, so go ahead. Subsequently I realized that I didn't have a yellow one yet either, so perfect. This one was part of a swap: he made this one for me, and I gave him one from my collection. I gave his to him because he was working on conversion, and I give all my friends who convert something Jewish of mine (kippot for the guys; I would give kippot to the women, too, but the only female friend of mine who ever converted said she wouldn't wear it, so I gave her a Star of David pendant). I wanted the one I gave Sami to be a real gift; for that it had to be hard to part with, so I went for my machine embroidered silk Yair Emanuel ones. I did give him the one I'd miss least out of those five (white with gold and silver branches)...I do miss it. It was worth it, though, if this was the result.
Plain raw silk, gold. A more muted tone than it looked to be on the website, but that's OK; just makes it more versatile. Oh, and it's another Yair Emanuel, just in case that wasn't obvious.
Black velvet, from my younger brother's Bar Mitzvah. (I don't have one from my older brother's bar Mitzvah because I wasn't collecting or wearing kippot then; if I remember correctly his were green corduroy.) I had to stitch the lining back on to this one recently, but I used black thread and the stitches just disappeared into the nice plush velvet.
Came with my older brother's Bar Mitzvah prayer shawl, and therefore I know the designer to be Gabrieli. I found this one in a laundry basket last Summer, brought it to my brother, and asked if I could have it. He said I could!
Genuine US Army issue, not from the latest camouflage, but from the one before, which is being phased out. I had to stitch part of the lining of this one back on, too, and the stitches did not disappear as well. When Israel was at war with Gaza in 2012, and I was in the hospital in Philadelphia trying to rehab my RSD (and therefore cut off from the Jewish community), this was the only kippah I would wear...it was the best and only way I had to show my support.
Gay pride! Second most expensive kippah in the collection (24 dollars, though I forget if that was with or without shipping), and it's the smallest. However, it is hand crocheted (found it on Etsy), and it was the cheapest gay pride kippah I could find...and being able to express my sexuality and my religion together was easily worth 24 dollars to me. I'd pay it all over again.
My very first kippah, a gift from my father when I was eight! I don't know why, but I don't really like this one and seldom wear it. Still, it has sentimental value, and I'll never part with it.
My second kippah, a gift from my father when I was ten! This one I like much better, and will often wear if I need a small one that is sturdier than the painted silk, but less rugged than the suede.
And this one came with my Bat Mitzvah prayer shawl. It is very faded now; for example, the gray background (the reason it's with this group) was once purple.
Another "family heirloom;" see maroon velvet above for what that actually means. This one is hard to deal with because it's too big for clips and too small to hug the wearer's head. Still, I started a tradition last year, and will continue it this year, of wearing this kippah to Kol Nidre, the evening service opening the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement we are supposed to wear white.
I call these my "special occasion" kippot. The black one on the left is the one I originally got to thumb my nose at the ultra-Orthodox, which I now wear on especially solemn or sad days. (It started as a thing to do on Holocaust Remembrance Day, but I wanted to wear it more than one day a year, so I expanded to Israel's Memorial Day and any fast day I'm observing...obviously except for the Day of Atonement, when we are supposed to wear white.) The blue and pink chunky knit is my "pajamas kippah." Everyone who hears that gets confused, and asks if I wear a kippah to sleep. The answer is no--even according to the strictest opinions, kippot only need to be worn when moving around--but there is usually some time after I am in a nightgown and before I go to bed, or in the early morning the other way around, and I do need a kippah then. Sometimes I do evening prayers in a nightgown; I definitely need a kippah then! So that is what the "pajamas kippah" is for.
This is the navy blue crochet that didn't load properly with the blue ones. Again, I got it at a random Bat Mitzvah I attended in the city...and no, most families cannot afford to provide kippot that nice in bulk.
Now a Reece's Rainbow child...you should know by now that, whatever else I'm posting, I would not forget to do this! I believe I'm "supposed' to post a boy this time. (My only rule for whom to post out of that age group is that I alternate gender.) I think I'll see if I can find one from my "Jacob's" country, to honor him...this is "SAUL," aging out in DECEMBER, with NEPHRITIC SYNDROME, and POST-OP CLEFT LIP AND PALATE.