Tales From The Veil: Crafty Kippot

Another “Tales from the Veil” story is brought to us by Rachel Kitt who is the Executive Assistant at the Jewish Federation of San Diego County. She loves to run competitively and for pleasure, bake gluten-free sweets, and hang out with her hubby, a San Diego attorney. After eloping to the island of Oahu in December of 2007, Rachel finds herself looking back on her Jewish destination wedding adventure and laughing out loud. Her story will show you how any bride can take wedding disasters and turn them into wedded bliss. Lemons into lemonade. Grapes into Manischewitz. We’ll be hearing more from Rachel as a regular contributor to The Wedding Yentas.

I have one brother. I have one sister, too, but it’s the one brother thing I want to kibbitz about today. I bring it up on The Wedding Yentas because my brother is religious. Super religious. Super, super-Jewish-religious. All it takes is one relative, especially an immediate family member, to make you think outside of the box when it comes to Jewish wedding planning. Different food requirements, different clothing requirements, and different comfort levels were all part of my agenda to satisfy this important family member. While it was not my brother’s wedding, and he didn’t want any special attention, there were some things we needed to do to make him comfortable.

I started by saying I have one brother. It’s important to mention this early and often because when you get married, sometimes it’s hard to remember what is important. You get sucked into this little world of “it’s my wedding and I’ll do what I want” and it’s easy to lose sight of what is really a priority. While this is the most important day of your life, people can’t just let go of who they are in order to mold themselves into what you want for your one day. Let me explain more with a little anecdote.

I bought adorable velvet kippot back home in San Diego in preparation for our wedding. I spent a lot of time deciding what to inscribe in them. Well, as much time as can be spent on three lines.

Should I order them to say hubby’s name first, then my first name and new last name? Or my first name and hubby’s full name? Or just our first names? Or Mr. & Mrs.? Hebrew date only or the American date? Both? The city and state we were to be married? Or more details, including the hotel name? It almost required as much thought as my wedding dress search.

A few hundred dollars and lots of dark blue velvet later, it was set. Our kippot names would be immortalized forever. Decades from now, a family member would find our kippa at a random Bar Mitzvah (maybe for our child?) and think back to our wedding day. Just one little detail that seemed traditional and important to me at the time.

Well, things didn’t go as planned.

First, it turns out that as an observant Jew, kippot must be a certain size in order to be acceptable to wear. Of course, I had no idea and bought the small ones, not the bigger ones. I found this all out the day before we got married. In other words, 24 hours did not leave any time to make any real changes, or so I thought.

At first, my brother said he couldn’t wear it, which upset me slightly. But then I thought, “what difference does it really make to me? It’s really important to him, and I want to respect him and his religious requirements.” I figured he would just be the only one who didn’t wear the velvet blue kippa.

Then, it got really interesting. My dad and brother passed a Hawaiian Chabad on the day of my destination wedding. Day of! They saw that they had Hawaiian flower printed kippot. And of course they were the right size and everything. My dad saw this as win-win opportunity. When he approached me, suggesting that we hand out the new kippot instead of my traditional velvet kippot, I wanted to disagree at first, but I saw how excited he was to accommodate both my brother and my wedding day in Hawaii.

So, I quickly thought of the short and long term implications. On the one hand, I was losing something that was semi-special to me. On the other hand, wasn’t it worth doing one small thing to include my brother in my day?

So I made the big decision that any big sister would on her wedding day. We chose the Hawaiian print kippot even though my brother still didn’t end up wearing it (he says he simply forgot to switch his everyday kippa for the wedding version. Oh well!).

It’s funny because looking back, everyone kvelled over those Hawaiian flowered kippot and still do. Even I had a change of heart soon after our wedding. I love seeing them in our wedding photos and our wedding video. This simple act of accepting a last minute detail made the day even more special.

(Side note: recently while speaking with my brother about the right size for kippot, he laughed and said that four years ago, he was just being difficult and totally could have worn the velvet kippa as it was. Hindsight is 20/20 for everyone!).

And now I have 100 velvet kippot that we will never use… Who wants one?