RNS photo by Bill Motchan. “A person who wakes up and looks like a schlepper starts to treat himself like a schlepper,” Tendler said. All rights reserved. A secular Jew… The First Shtreimel. Hatam Sofer), and Rabbi Mordekhai Banet of Nikolsburg. $69.99. Yet shtreimelekh also appear in rabbinic portraits painted in their subjects’ lifetime and in photographs of rabbis in no way associated with Hasidism. Another shtreimel appears in a 1694 document – but not on the head of a Jew. The shtreimel didn’t become exclusively Hasidic overnight, however. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. In the process, he stereotypes just about every form of Judaism -- including his own (Reform or Conservative, the op-ed isn't clear which) -- and says this about Orthodox Judaism: "Some have tried to draw sharp distinctions between the East Ramapo and Williamsburg crowd and the 'Modern Orthodox.' The shtreimel is almost always the most costly article of Hasidic clothing. The regulation may also have aimed to avoid unwanted attention from hostile gentile neighbors. While there is strong religious custom for Jewish males to cover their heads, from the standpoint of Jewish law there is no religious significance to the use of the shtreimel as the head covering. Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalemites – Hasidic or not – long donned their own particular shtreimel, distinguished by its relatively low height. In 1946, the rabbi wrote to one of his American followers, who was trying to obtain a visa for him: I have no shtreimel for the Sabbath and have so far fulfilled that obligation with a borrowed shtreimel. The man on the left is wearing a Shtreimel, and the one on the right is wearing a Platchige Biber Hat:Here are the main times that Shtreimels are worn: Similar to a Shtreimel, a Spodik is a tall, fur hat that Hasidic Jews wear on holidays, the Sabbath, and festive occasions. This post highlighting the different communities described below may also be helpful. In stark contrast to this tale of humiliation, the shtreimel also resembles the sable-trimmed Russian Imperial crown known as Monomakh’s Cap, apart from its bejeweled cap topped with a cross. One entry lists a communal expense: “For the deacon’s shtreimel : thirty gold [coins]” (Nahum Sokolow, “The Opatów Community Log,” He-asif 6 , p. 142 [Hebrew]). Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook (d. 1935), Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Mandate Palestine, was no Hasid (though some say his background was at least partially Hasidic), but he wore a spodik. (Suede Yarmulkes are also common among Modern and Centrist Orthodox Jews). The Hasidic masters may then have adopted the kolpik on certain occasions, preserving a visual distinction between the leader and his followers. (Yehuda Leib Bialer, ed., Min Ha-genazim [From the Vaults], vol. A Glimpse Inside the Hidden World of Hasidic Women . But so are the non-Hasidic Jews in the other illustrations. 2, p. 119 [Hebrew]), (Thanks to its diminutive final lamed, the word shtreimel means a small or otherwise distinguished shtreim, or fur hat.). As a matter of extreme urgency, therefore, a good shtreimel must be purchased and prepared for me in honor of the Sabbath. Thus, even such humble foods as gala (calves’-foot jelly, also known as ptcha), onions, and kasha are transformed into Sabbath “delicacies,” and even animal tails become a crown – in the form of shtreimelekh. , Arnon asserts that the number of furs used in the manufacture of the shtreimel has some significance. So it was that the “Russian” fur hat and long coat became Jewish clothing, worn by the arch-traditionalists to differentiate themselves from everyone else. Shtreimelekh are often made from fox fur. He admits that when he puts one on, he feels its presence. The hat’s quality and meticulous 52-step handmade construction process may explain its popularity among glitterati. Yet the story has no historic basis. This perception may have had a ripple effect: if the recognized and respected heads of the Jewish community – the “most Jewish” Jews – wore fur hats, surely this was traditional Jewish attire. That text didn’t specify the type of hat, though. Witness the fur hats in likenesses of rabbis as early as Yehezkel Landau (1713–1793), chief rabbi of Prague, author of the Noda Bi-Yehuda responsa, and – ironically – an early opponent of Hasidism. Broadly speaking, Hasidic groups originating in Ukraine (where Hasidism began), Russia, Galicia, Hungary, or Romania don the short, wide, brown shtreimel, traditionally made from animal tails. The shtreimel even acquired mystical significance. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The practice of wearing a fancy hat may be traced to the mid-1800s and Nosson Zvi Finkel, an Eastern European Orthodox Jewish teacher who had many poor young men as students, according to Rabbi Menachem Tendler, the head rabbi at U. By 1937, though, in North America at least, the Hasid and his shtreimel seemed inseparable. ( Log Out / Portrait by Horace Vernet, circa 1830. © 2020 jewinthecity.com. Groups that trace their roots to Congress Poland (annexed by Russia in the 18th century) wear the taller, narrower, and darker spodik, made from pieces of black fur (sometimes dyed that color) and therefore cheaper. As popularized by Feivel in An American Tail and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, this felt cap was once a mainstay for religious Jewish men but fell out of favor. In the early 18th century, the Jewish community of Boskovice, Moravia, regulated the wearing of fur hats by women whose husbands paid minimal communal taxes: Anyone who doesn’t remit two coins to the [communal] fund – his wife is not permitted to go around with a shiny scarf or a Prague hat. Any type of hat would theoretically suffice. This Hoiche (High) crown weekday style is worn mostly by Hasidic Jews from all different courts, but can also be worn by Rosh Yeshiva in the Heimishe and Yeshivish worlds. Rather, whatever clothing one [wears] to go out to the market all day, in those [clothes] he prays and studies – if he can [study] – without said rabbinic garb. A communal ordinance enacted in Śniadowo, Poland, and transcribed in 1768, distinguishes between shtreimel and spodik – this time atop male heads – as a reflection of the wearer’s scholarship and attendant social status: Not everyone who wishes to take a crown for his head may take [it]. Evidently, for 18th- and 19th-century rabbis, a shtreimel went with the job. Equally instructive is Les Israélites de Pologne (1846), a history of Polish Jewry by Léon Hollaenderski. Plus, wearing one is considered to be a zechus (merit). The hat is a European Jewish tradition to wear while praying, and many men will go further and wear it all of the time. Just like baseball caps have had different ways they are worn – curved front or flat front, this is the headgear of this community. There are many types of hats that Hasidic Jews wear, such as the Shtreimel, Spodik, Kolpik, Hoiche, Biber, Up-Hat, and Chabad Fedora. Hasidic Jewish men also frequently wear hats. Joe Biden, president-elect at last, was shaped by a very American Catholic faith, Southwestern Baptist adjunct professor, wife, struck and killed by drag racer, France’s ‘hip’ female rabbi draws Muslims, Christians and Jews in a time of crisis, Orthodox Jewish leaders unite against the coronavirus, In Jerusalem, thousands of Israeli women mark the end of 7 years of daily Talmud study, Orthodox women seek bigger role as Jews end Talmud cycle, © Copyright 2020, Religion News Service. Please use our handy visual guide to understanding Orthodox Jewish men’s head coverings.
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