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Wearing a Kippah in a Non-Kosher Restaurant

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It’s the classic case.
 
A Jewish man walks into a non-kosher restaurant to grab some food with a friend and inconspicuously slides off his kippah and puts in into his pocket, making sure that no one notices the identity shift. While this may be viewed as a pathology of modern day Judaism, even the Talmud talks about how a sinner should try and be as covert as possible in their actions.
 
We can rattle off a whole list of reasons as to why it would be ridiculous for someone to wear his kippah while eating non-kosher in public. For one, there is the issue that other Jews may mistakenly think that the restaurant is actually kosher. Furthermore, it just seems contradictory and paradoxical. If one cares enough to wear a kippah, which is customary at best, how can they defend eating non-kosher, an explicit prohibition?
 
So let me explain why I still do.
 
A couple of month ago, I wrote an article discussing the basic reason why I continue to wear a kippah, even though I have no intellectual or emotional attachment to the elementary idea that “It reminds us that God is above us.”
 
In that article I explained that wearing a kippah, “tags me as a member, representative and advocate for the Jewish community. It means that I am always available, always noticeable, and always on-call.”
 
However, in that article I forgot one of the most important reasons of wearing a kippah, both historically and in my current thought process.    
 
It wasn’t until the late 17th century in Europe that wearing a full time head covering became the norm amongst Jewish men. Even then, there were many rabbis and communities for which kippah-wearing was an act saved for the synagogues and study halls.
 
At this point in history, Jews in Europe slowly began to be integrated into the greater European culture, leaving behind the ghetto walls of the past. Laws were passed giving Jews equal rights, allowing them to attend and participate in nearly every facet of European life. While many of the finer details of this overly simplistic narrative of Jewish emancipation are disputed, the general idea still holds true for the purpose of this conversation.
 
In both wider European and Christian culture, baring one’s head was a sign of respect. Upon entering the church, individuals would be expected to remove their head covering in order to pray. So Jewish men began to do the exact opposite.
 
In this light, many scholars and rabbinic authorities alike link the proliferation of kippah wearing within Ashkenazic Jewry with the fact that Jews were suddenly integrated into the wider European culture. Coincidently, this is also the reason that the kippah never really became a custom amongst Sephardic Jews.
 
Today, as I live in a city and nation that is predominantly Christian, I wear my kippah wherever I go. Given its historical story, I see very little reason to shed the kippah when entering into a local Subway restaurant. For me, although I still keep strictly kosher for meat, Judaism is much greater than a string of archaic laws and dietary restrictions. Given the sociological reasoning for the kippah’s prominence, perhaps it is even more important to wear a kippah in a non-kosher restaurant than in a kosher one.
 
 
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