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WANJTD – Series – 2 Objects a) Judaica part 1: Clothing

2nd October 2017 - Uncategorised

I feel that I should start each of these with some caveats.
A) Dressing like a Jew doesn’t make you a Jew if you are not a Jew.
B) Worshiping like a Jew doesn’t make you a Jew if you are not a Jew.
C) Living like a Jew doesn’t make you a Jew if you are not a Jew.

Also – The Torah was given to the Tribes of Jacob at Sinai and not to the world. This is something I have trouble with but believe to be true, why trouble? Because I find myself saying one thing and doing another..as you will see in this post.

Judaica are the ritual or traditional or decorative objects that are connected to both the people and land of Israel, the practice of Judaism and Torah and the traditions of the Jewish people around the world. It can come in the form of clothing items, jewellery, seasonal objects like a Seder plate (for Passover/Pesach) or Etrog or books and even objects like statues, paintings and household items.

The list of these types of item are seemingly endless so I’m only going to talk a little about items I have. This post will be part one.

I’m not Jewish, if this is your first time reading one of my blogs then I should get that out up front.

I own the following items. I own a half dozen different styles of Kippa. I also own a Tallit. I also own and used to hand make Tzitzit. BUT – and I think this is important. I don’t wear them. Any of them.

So let’s break this down..

I did use to wear the fringes. I have friends who aren’t Jewish who wear the fringes. That is their choice, I’m not here to tell you what to do, these blogs are here to express and explain my position right now and hopefully give people some insight and encouragement in their move forward. I used to wear fringes, I went from the belt loops (when I was going through my messianic phase) onto tzitzit that I tied into hoops that I made into my shirts and then tallit katan. I stopped wearing them 3 years ago. Why?  Well at first I thought, ‘you know what? I think this is certainly only for the Children of Israel.. and that isn’t me’, then, later on, I was speaking with a Rabbi friend and we had an interesting chat when I brought up Tzitzit. ‘There is not command to wear Tzitzit as a stand-alone item’, he told me. ‘What?’ I said.. ‘The command is, ‘you must wear fringes of the corners of your garment’ (meaning 4 corners) but if you do not own a 4 cornered garment, it’s void. Which is why many religious Jews own a Tallit.. in order to be able to fulfil this Mitzvah’. I have to say, it was a mind-expanding moment and that little rush and brain ache is why I love to study. I have shared this with a few people, some agree, some don’t, but it makes more than perfect sense to me, so on 2 counts, I’m out when it comes to wearing them. So why do I own a Tallit?

My good friend Jono told me about a place near ancient Shiloh that hand makes Tallit in much the same way they were made 2000 years ago and I decided on our last trip to Israel I really wanted one. Jono did the job of Tallit hero and legged it into the store and picked out the nicest one for me as soon as we entered. Now I own it. Some day I might be able to add Tzitzit and use it publically, we will see, until then it is a reminder of the people who work hard to make Israel home, of the importance of study and the solitude that can come from a single cloth.

My Kippa collection. I’ll have to be really honest here and I hope it doesn’t offend. I fell in love with the Bukharan style pill box hat when I was a kid because of the TV show ‘The Wombles’. I’ve always liked the image of the old English eccentric and that style of hat falls right into the wardrobe. It’s very hard to find any that fit but I have handful thanks to kind friends to find them and pass them on. I have a couple of regular Kippa too, some were gifts and some my own purchase, as souvenirs or for practical use, if you visit a Synagogue today, it is expected, even as a non-Jew, to cover your head.

You won’t find me wearing these things out to the store or around the house. I believe it gives a false impression. To be honest, I see people playing dress up and it makes me a little angry. It’s cultural appropriation. I see it most within groups who, in general, try to remove themselves from Judaism. They want to ‘look’ the part but don’t want to be associated with Jews. I’m looking at you, Michael Rood. But to be fair, I see much Much non-Jewish and also non-Christian people dressing as very religious jews.

I’m a hypocrite. I used to wear the tassels, I changed my mind, I don’t. I tell people the Torah is for the Jews, I’m not Jewish but I ‘do’ some of it. As these posts go on I hope my reasoning will untangle a little and I can express my side of the story.

I’m curious? Are you a non-Jew? What Judaica do you have and why? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

6 thoughts on “WANJTD – Series – 2 Objects a) Judaica part 1: Clothing

Kay

Shalom Jason. We used to wear fringes, on belt loops when Messianics, but not now. We don’t dress Jewish at all, only keep Torah to the best of our ability. Our walk sounds similar to yours!

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David W

Me neither, I don’t see any need to dress like that, but neither do many liberal Jews. It’s a matter of choice. However, it’s also worth noting that there are quite a lot of Jewish organisations that offer Torah teaching online to anyone. So I think Torah primarily for Jews, but also ok for others to follow. People may knock it but religious freedom is a secular and very spiritual matter, for which many have died.

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Patricia J Deneen

Love your honesty, Jason. I especially appreciate that you don’t try to appear Jewish, even though I suspect you practice Judaism more faithfully than the majority of Jews, all of whom have a right to wear a kippah if they want to. As a woman, even if I were a Jew, I wouldn’t have to wear the kippah or a prayer shawl or fringes. Our issue is determining what is – or is not – modest clothing. Perhaps we could have a discussion about that sometime.

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Emma Brisbourne Withers

Shalom Jason. I appreciate your honesty, so here is a little of mine in return! I also arrived here via the messianic movement and used to belong to a dance group. As such I owned a Tallit and numerous Kippahs, even though I am female, it was the done thing. I still own them. They are no longer used and maybe one day I will have the opportunity to pass them on to someone who can used them validly (?) One of the reasons I came out of the movement (apart from my MASSIVE theological issues!) was the deceptiveness of it all – I was REALLY uncomfortable with the image projected by myself primarily, and others.
I would also like to see a discussion on modest clothing if possible!

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Charles

Joining the Jewish people is not prohibited by the Torah. In fact it is explicitly allowed. There are mechanisms in Judaism that control for insincere converts. The chief mechanism, in my view, is circumcision. In all respect, I don’t think you have demonstrated why people who wish to join the Jewish people in exile need to be constrained in their understanding of plain scripture. I don’t think you’re a hypocrite at all, in fact the reason I listen to you is because you pursue truth. Having said that, wearing blue fringes to remind oneself of the law was originally the point. But adherence to cultural norms is a manmade construct. Finally, slapping down sincere converts who may be slowly coming from a Christian worldview is not helpful to Judaism.

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Rosie

I always appreciate your honesty, especially when it comes to just “being” and not stressing. To just rest in our creator.

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