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Friday, December 7, 2018


I have some issues with tzitzit.

Image result for tzitzit katanI like them, but why wear them? I put on my tallit gadol every morning as I daven. 

I wear a keffiyeh most days, do not the fringes at the corner of the square garment count? Mine was called a Jewish keffiyeh by its maker, and it was woven with the Star of David as its pattern in blue.
the semetic is where I found mine, more than 12 years ago I suspect. They don't even sell the design anymore.

I wonder what it means to wear the fringes. I wonder if they should be inside or outside, showing or hidden. Are they for me, or are they for my neighbors?

I live in America, in a tiny city in New York state. My city has a long and proud Jewish history, but it has never been a very outwardly Jewish identity. I wonder if the fringes are for both my neighbor as well as myself, what does it do for them, I know what it does for me.

Is the outward expression of Jewish life in the form of our clothes useful to our fellow Jews in America in the 21st century? When they see a Jew in a kippah do they say to themselves I'm not alone and take comfort in that? When they see the fringes dangling from underneath the coat or a shirt or sweater are they comforted or are they suspicious?

To live as a Jew amongst Jews in a place where Jews are not necessarily a minority such as parts of NYC I think it sends a different message than when you are a minority and an invisible minority in a larger community.

I think the fringes can be a sort of moving Tabernacle, a mezuzah that means whenever you see them you've made it home, or at least to a friendly camp.

At least, I wish that could be true.

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