Religion & Beliefs

Is Your Kipah Too Blah?

My dad is notoriously straight-laced. For many years his Purim costume was an orange kipah. For him, that was radical. But recently he’s come out of his shell a bit, and it’s all because he went to a bar mitzvah … Read More

By / July 2, 2007

My dad is notoriously straight-laced. For many years his Purim costume was an orange kipah. For him, that was radical. But recently he’s come out of his shell a bit, and it’s all because he went to a bar mitzvah and realized he’d forgotten his standard brown crocheted kipah at home. He had to snag one of the complimentary ones offered by the parents of the bar mitzvah, and those were not the normal black suede numbers with the bar mitzvah boy’s name printed in gold on the inside. At the bar mitzvah in question, the kippot provided had been imported from Guatemala. They’re called Mayaworks Kippot, and the website gives a really cool explanation of how a bunch of women in Guatemala started crocheting kippot:

MayaWorks kippot are crocheted by Mayan women who live in San Marcos, Guatemala, on the shores of Lake Atitlan. They began making kippot a few years ago, thanks to the idea of a MayaWorks volunteer who saw their crocheted hackysacks and small purses. After a few lessons in how to make the kippot rounded and shaped, the women set to work creating this new product. Some months later, a MayaWorks volunteer realized that the Mayan women had no idea what they were creating. A discussion ensued that talked about religious customs, both Mayan and Jewish, and explained the use and meaning of the kippot.

The work of the kippot crocheters makes a difference in the daily life of families: it means more food on the table; it means children can continue their education; it means the family might be able to bring electricity into their home; it means there is money to take the bus to town to visit a doctor.

MayaWorks Kippot come in various colorful designs and are approximately 6" in diameter. The cost is $8/each. Orders over $200 receive a 10% discount and orders of 100 kippot or more receive the bulk rate of $6/each. Your purchase of MayaWorks kippot brings income to the artisans who create them–that means better food on their family table, better access to health care and school for their children. You can make a difference in the lives of a Mayan family!

To order kippot, mezzuzot, and other Judaica products made by these women, click here. MayaWorks is a fair trade organization, making sure that their artisans make market wages, and can be proud of their work. And my dad? He’s a loyal MayaWorks customer now, with a bright red, green, blue and yellow kippot for every day of the week. He gets complimented on them all the time. What with my purple hair and his neon yarmulkes we are SO taking Jewish heads to a whole new level.