Over my head

As regular readers will know, I am a person that loves ritual, and in particular making ritual personally meaningful. In true Reform style, we should only do mitzvot that we have engaged with to understand their meaning, particularly to us personally. Likewise if a mitzvah is empty and you don't understand why your are (or are not) doing it, you haven't done the work held at the heart of Reform Judaism. There are lots of reasons why people do and don't do things, but engaging with their meaning and understanding them makes the rituals and mitzvot meaningful, and our Jewish life more engaging.
One of the ways I have always enjoyed engaging with mitzvot and rituals is to encourage learning about a ritual before making an item (where relevant) to help in its performance. During my shopping amnesty a friend taught me the skill of making beaded kippot (which until then I'd been buying at great expense from America), a feminine, crafty and creative way of engaging with the idea of covering out heads in respect and awe of heaven and God.

"Cover your head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you."
B.T. Shabbat 156b (nb. The first mention of head covering is in the Talmud)

"Rabbi Hunah ben Joshua never walked 4 cubits (2 meters) with his head uncovered. He explained: 'Because the Divine Presence is always over my head."
B.T. Kiddushin 31a

And I may have become carried away! Having made kippah after kippah, and discovered more and more people wanting to get hold of them, I've decided to use them to try and raise money for a fantastic project at West London Synagogue - an Asylum Seekers and Refugees drop in centre, as well as a way of helping people connect with this ancient idea of ritualising our respect for God and a religious sanctuary. http://folksy.com/shops/Dobbieclaypot


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