scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Hats - LONG reply
Paul S. Wolf (paul.s.wolf@ALUM.WPI.EDU
Tue Nov 02 1999 - 21:31:32 CST
> In a message dated 11/2/99 2:07:49 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> Lilchpn125@AOL.COM writes:
>> I know that your intent is to promote courtesy, BUT my religious
>> heritage dictates that my head be covered at all times.
> Can you help an ignorant Scouter?
> I have attended two Eagle Courts of Honor at the Troop sponsored by
> Temple Sinai, Dresher, PA. They have been held in an all-purpose
> meeting room. I have observed that all of the Scouts and Scouters
> from the Troop, wear their Scout Hat for the duration. Some, but not
> all, men in the audience wear a head covering, however. I have
> encountered other invited Scouters on the way in the door. We ask
> each other: "Should we wear a Scout Hat?" But, we don't know.
> Bill McCole
> Advancement Chair
> Troop 3 Ambler, PA
> Cradle of Liberty Council
The following is long, but I think it will educate. the answer to your
specific question is at the end.
There are three basic branches of Judaism, Orthodox, Conservative, and
Reform. Smaller branches, like the Chasidic movements are basically in
the Orthodox mode, while the Reconstructionist and Renewal movements are
closer to Reform.
Orthodox men wear head coverings at all times, indoors and out. Some
wear skull caps at all times, others wear hats of various designs. In
synagogue buildings, and especially in the sanctuaries, those that wear
hats will usually replace them with skull caps.
Most, but not all, Reform Jewish men do NOT follow that policy. An
increasing number will wear a skull cap in the synagogue sanctuary, but
usually not in other parts of the building.
In the Conservative movement, the more observant will follow the custom
of keeping their head covered at all times, usually with a skull cap.
All will wear a skull cap while in the sanctuary in the synagogue, and
most, but not all, will also cover their heads whenever they are in the
In Orthodox synagogues, ALL men entering the building will be asked to
cover their heads.
In Conservative synagogues, ALL men entering the sanctuary will be asked
to do the same, and may be asked to also don caps elsewhere in the
building. It really varies by local custom in each building.
In Reform synagogues, since most of the members don't wear caps,
visitors will not be asked to do so. There was a period when ardent
Reform synagogues asked men, even Jewish men whose custom was to keep
their head covered, to REMOVE their hats, but that custom is not
practiced any longer, to my knowledge.
As for your meeting at Temple Sinai: If you didn't guess from the above
descriptions, Temple Sinai is a Conservative synagogue. (I verified
that by looking in the directory of the United Synagogue of Conservative
Judaism - the national organization of that movement). As a result, the
Troop members follow the synagogue custom of keeping their hats on when
they are anywhere in the building. Guests need not wear their hats
while in parts of the building other than the sanctuary, but it is also
appropriate to keep your hats on, if you so desire. As you saw, some
do, some don't. Either is appropriate.
Paul S. Wolf, PE mailto:Paul.S.Wolf@alum.wpi.edu
Advancement/Safety Webmaster, USSSP http://www.usscouts.org
Past President, Great Lakes Region, Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs