Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What color shirt do you wear to shul?

If you are one of my RNs, you probably don't understand the question. For the RNs, shabbos shirts come in one color, and one color only: White.

The OMJs, on the other hand, permit themselves some variety. White is prevalent, of course, but blue is common. I've also seen grey and beige and even pink or green.

And the local Chasidim? This may surprise you, but there is some color in the Hasidic wardrobe. They don't wear ties, and their shirts are always white, but the long coats and shtreimels come in different colors. I've seen red shtreimels. I've seen blue coats, and I've seen black coats with blue (or green!) velvet trim. And the coats, themselves, come in all sorts of patterns.

Some questions:
1 - Why does a proper RN insist on a black hat, when a proper hasid might wear a red or brown shtreimel?
2 - Why do both RNs and hasidim disdain colored shirts? What's frightning them?
3 - Why do the hasidim who disdain colored shirts, often wear brightly colored coats?

And what do I wear to shul on shabbos? A white shirt usually, but occasionally I'll wear a blue shirt to mincha just to mix things up a little.


Speculating: White=elegant&formal, therefore most appropriate for Shabat. AFAIK, Shabat garb for non-Yerushalmi Hasidic braves is black & white, some coats are patterned. Streimel fur is "natural" so it may be reddish brown. Brilliant colored coats are reserved for the chief.  

Being the sole MO misnagdishe apikores in a hybrid Chassidish/BH/BT shul I wear anything that I think looks good.
Which doesn't amount to much.
I get a lot of stares when I show up in my light grey suit with eggplant shirt.
But seriously I do try to wear white shirts on shabbos because white is a more "pure" color and more respectful.  

I once prepared a list "How to get dirty looks in the shteeble"
Item 1 - Wear a green shirt.  

Guys, guys, guys...you need to come on over to my synagogue, where people where, quite literally, anyting they want. Sandals, shorts, sleeveless shirts (women), t-shirts, jeans, no kippah (men), tallis on Fridya nights (OK, it's one guy that wears it and I'm dying to ask him why.)

Honestly, wouldn't you rather have the white shirt rule than this chaos? Maybe if it came with a little less judmentalism? Isn't that what this is really about, the "white shirts" judging the "colored shirts"? At least we don't have that...I've never heard the guy who wears a suit every Saturday tell the guy who wears his Birkenstocks that he should wear regular shoes.

Personally, I'd appreciate a little more formality and respect for shabbat, but I can live without it if it would mean adding judgmentalism to the mix. Does it really hurt me to have someone in shorts at services? Sure, it IRKS me, but does it HURT me? (I'm one of the few women who ALWAYS wears a skirt.)

L'Shana Tova!


You forgot to ask are you allowed to wear a STRAW HAT? And if the answear is yes. From what date until when?  

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