Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Etymology of Yarmulke

After much research I finally finished the first part of the the study of yarmulke. It is posted as part of my Librarian's Lobby column for August. It is double the length of my usual column and includes 17 footnotes.

It is hard to believe that this is my 100th column. Please spread the word.
Use this link to read the article: http://home.earthlink.net/~ddstuhlman/crc100.pdf

The additional parts will appear in the coming months. Since this month is the start of the school year and next month starts Elul, I can't promise when they will be done.

In the research and preparation process I had many discussions with people at shul. For some without an understanding of linguistics or history they are quick to quote what they were taught as a child. The type of head covering one wears today is related closely to the message you want to give to the people around you. If you wear a big black hat the message is different than a kippah with your favorite sports team.

Whenever I research a Yiddish word that does not come from Germanic or Hebrew roots there is always an interesting story. The next word people have asked me to search is "parve."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When did the yarmulke become Jewish?

Last Friday night someone at shul asked if I knew anything about the origin of yarmulke. He said that he found an interesting source and wondered if I could confirm or refute it. Since then I have been searching for answers. The problem is, there is no exact answer. The origin of the word itself is uncertain and could be the subject of a full article. The more I search, the more uncertain the answer becomes. In my next Librarian's Lobby I will explore some of the story. As a librarian the search is almost as interesting as the answer.