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Must Have: Obamica Yarmulkes from Vanity Kippah

Shmuly Tennenhaus’ life moto goes something like this: “If God gives you lemons, make Kippahs out of them.” The outcome? Introducing Vanity Kippahs, a new line of politically-inspired Kippot that encourages Jews and non-Jews alike, from both sides of the … Read More

By / August 15, 2008

Shmuly Tennenhaus’ life moto goes something like this: “If God gives you lemons, make Kippahs out of them.” The outcome? Introducing Vanity Kippahs, a new line of politically-inspired Kippot that encourages Jews and non-Jews alike, from both sides of the political spectrum, to go ahead and “Get Ur Freak Kip’ On.”

Just think what your shulmates will say when they see you sporting that stylin’ McCippah in bright blue or the Obamica in white? The polls are in: whether you think “McCain is Zayer Shain” (as printed on the McCippah), or your "Bubby is voting Obama" (as advertised on the Obamica), you will be the coolest kid in the political campaign sandbox. Though it may still be too close to call, at this point the McCippah is currently leading the Obamica in sales.

All Vanity Kippahs come with two complimentary kippah clips and will arrive in three to five days, without any shipping fees.

If politics isn’t your thing, fear not! The Hot Kippah might be the yarmulke for you! Its sassy pink stitching reads, “Don’t you wish your kippah was hot like mine?” Plus, it might just get you some action. Shmuly, the Seattle-based Vanity Kippah creator, describes himself the following way, “I am 27. Single Jewish male. With beautiful blue eyes. My parents would like me to get married last week. However, after conferring with many similar specimens of my race, I am realizing that this is a commonality.”

Ever since he started to wear his Kippahs in public, though, he’s been getting noticeable attention from the ladies. He says, “I had coffee with an Asian female yesterday. Purely platonic. She loved it. Plus, last Sabbath, I wore my VK to shul. And I could not help notice a girl checking me out from the women’s gallery. Hot.”

Shmuly tells Jewcy that although Vanity Kippah is a relatively new company, business has been going pretty well so far. However he does admit that he is surprised to find himself in the yarmulke business, remarking, “I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever be a Kippah mogul.” The thing is, when you learn a little bit more about Shmuly, besides his self-proclaimed "beautiful eyes," his place in the commercial Kippah industry starts to make a little more sense.

Shmuly’s passions for pop culture and Judaism tend to produce some interesting results.


“My father is a practicing Rabbi," he said. "So are my other two brothers. I have a Rabbinical degree though I do not practice. When I lived in Montreal, my Smicha (Rabbinical) certification was gathering dust on the bookshelf while a poster of Elisha Cuthbert hung from my wall. I would explain to visitors that if my Rabbinical degree had thighs like Ms. Cuthbert, it too would be hanging from the wall.”

Despite the rabbinic degree, Shmuly’s occupational background is actually rooted in marketing and technology. He says, “In early 2007, I was "relocated" to Seattle to work for a high tech start-up.” But that’s not all that happened. It was also in 2007 that Shmuly became something of an internet sensation. The New York Times mentioned Shmuly in an article about his channel on YouTube.

Unfortunately, Vanity Kippah has not always been the receiver of such glowing press. When asked about VK media coverage thus far, Shmuly responds that some people, especially Jews, don’t seem to be able to appreciate the humor in his product. While he has received “Flowering coverage in the non-Jewish press,” Shmuly has also gotten “Skewering response in the Jewish media.” He jokes, “Read the comments on this article. I feel like Philip Roth, minus the literary talent.“

But a few negative comments are not enough to stop the kippot, and Shmuly still aims to transform the skullcap from a religious item to a broader fashion statement. He explains, “Madonna made Kabbalah pop culture. My goal is to do the same for the kippah. A religious article does not need to be drab. Nor should it be confined to only a small percentage of the population.”

In that vein, Shmuly’s got a lot more in store for Vanity Kippah. He announces, “I will be a launching a collection exclusively for non-Jews. Of course Jews will be permitted to shop the collection. And buy a NJK (non-Jew-Kippah) for their non-Jewish friend. It’s the ultimate gift for a secret Santa exchange.”

Get your own Obamica or McCippah here.

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