comprar nike air max 90 online Commercial or Trendy Skullcaps Add Fad to a Ritual
Samuel Goldberg has 51 skullcaps and counting. He has Knicks, Mets, Bulls, Michigan, Duke and Penn State. But for the month of March he wore Tar Heels and only Tar Heels, a blue suede number bearing the logo of his favorite college basketball team.
But that was last month. Now, his most treasured skullcap kipa in Hebrew and yarmulke in Yiddish is the Nike one he recently picked up at a classmate’s bar mitzvah, another blue suede one decorated with the trademark swoosh and an inscription inside, ”Jason Katz Just Did it.”
”I have more yarmulkes than socks,” said Samuel, 13, a seventh grader at the Ramaz Middle School, a liberal Orthodox yeshiva on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Granted, wild and weird skullcaps, adorned with everything from sports team logos to the Cookie Monster to the phrase ”I drank 12 beers last night,” have been popular among modern Orthodox Jewish boys for about a decade.
With it all have come voices of dissent, the loudest from Jewish scholars and ultra Orthodox leaders, including some yeshiva headmasters who have barred students from wearing anything but the traditional black velvet or suede kipa. After all, a kipa is worn by observant Jewish boys and men and a growing number of women as a sign of humility before God.
”We really feel the kipa symbolizes something,” said Rabbi Yerachmeil Milstein, executive director of the Yeshiva Ketana, on the Upper West Side, where only traditional skullcaps are permitted. ”It’s a relationship with God, and somehow that message can get lost with all this brand noise. When it becomes this commercial, it loses its true symbolism.”
The fad has also created potential legal problems for retailers. Companies, like Nike, trying to stamp out counterfeit logos have taken issue with some of the newest skullcaps, whose logos are sewn on by hand by mothers and grandmothers or produced as unlicensed products by designers who supply the Judaica shops.
Children’s Television Workshop, for example, forced one Manhattan Judaica shop, the J. Levine Company in the garment district, to remove ”Sesame Street” skullcaps from its shelves, said the store’s owner, Daniel Levine.
A senior Nike official said that the company had recently confiscated a few skullcaps adorned with swooshes, as part of a routine sweep in Manhattan of vendors selling unlicensed Nike merchandise.
But the official, Vada O. Manager, director of global issues management for Nike, said the company had no plans yet to focus on skullcaps because there are still relatively few available.
”The yarmulke, as venerable and noble an article of clothing it is, is not something we sell among our performance athletic line,” Mr. Manager said. ”But it’s not something we plan to specifically enforce. That would be like trying to prosecute a kid who had a swoosh cut into his hair at the barber shop.”
To many liberal Orthodox parents and educators, though, the kipa collecting frenzy among 11 and 12 year olds is a great development. It is not always easy to persuade adolescent city boys to wear a kipa, especially when their non Jewish peers are wearing baseball caps and teasing them about the ”beanies,” a derogatory term for skullcaps.
”We are quietly encouraging it,” said Rabbi Eliezer Rubin, headmaster of the Ramaz Middle School. ”If the kids can find something positive to attach to ritual Judaism through their own personal choice, then we’re only happy.”
The fad, said Samuel’s mother, Dale Goldberg, who has spent the last decade scouring yeshiva boutiques and Judaica shops for cool skullcaps for her two sons, ”takes something that has a religious aspect and makes it fun.”
Samuel’s father, Saul Goldberg, who owned four skullcaps growing up in Brooklyn, marveled at his son’s collection, more than double that of Samuel’s brother, Benjamin, 16.
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”I probably wore the same one every day,” Mr. Goldberg said. ”But Sam changes every day. A new one comes out, and it’s his favorite.”
Several boys at Ramaz, which is considered one of the most liberal yeshivas in the city and may well be on the cutting edge of kipa cool, agreed that the new styles make wearing a skullcap more fun, or at least bearable. (A few admitted to covering them with baseball caps or removing them when they leave school grounds.)
Hart Levine, a seventh grader whose father owns the J. Levine Judaica shop, eagerly told visitors to the school the other week about his New York Rangers kipa, which is signed by the goalie Mike Richter. Like Samuel, Hart’s favorite (after the Rangers), is the Nike one he got at Jason Katz’s bar mitzvah. He picked up two, he said.
Samuel and several other boys said they particularly like a kipa that has cropped up in the last month, which bears the logo of And 1, the apparel company that makes several of the boys’ sneakers.
”Since the companies are always in our minds,” said Roni Jesselson, a Ramaz eighth grader, wearing a kipa with their logos ”is cool.”
Going back to the 1950’s, when some boys, including Samuel’s father, wore what were known as ”ivy league” skullcaps, made of plaid and adorned with a belt buckle, Jewish boys and men have used their skullcaps to make statements about fashion, their political views or their own identity.
In Israel, the size and style of the kipa identifies its wearer’s position on the ideological and religious spectrum. Some of the kipa decorations now popular in New York, including Pokemon and the Power Rangers, first appeared in that country.
But in New York City, the latest styles have come to symbolize an unprecedented assimilation of Jewish religious practice with American pop culture, several scholars said.
”It’s a way of demonstrating that you share more than one culture,” said Samuel Heilman, the Harold Proshansky professor of Jewish Studies at the City University of New York. ”It says that I am though I wear a kipa very much in the mainstream of contemporary American culture.”
The recent appearance of logos for Nike and other companies on skullcaps has touched off some hand wringing among other Jewish scholars, who say the trend that began with Sesame Street yarmulkes for toddlers has now gone too far.
Rabbi Andrew N. Bachman, director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University, said he was particularly disturbed by the Nike skullcaps because of what he says are the company’s bad labor practices, which many Orthodox Jewish college students have protested. Nike says it is moving to improve working conditions at its factories overseas.
”There are so many Jewish kids involved in the anti sweatshop movement on campus,” Rabbi Bachman said. ”There’s some kind of disconnect between a religious symbol and a company emblem which, to me, symbolizes questionable ethical and labor practices.”