My brother’s school, a school that I used to go to, requires both boys and girls to cover their heads during tefila, Judaic classes, and eating – including by wearing a kippah. On a social media post of theirs, I saw that all the boys and girls were wearing Kippot so I commented and asked why they require girls to wear kippot. They responded as follows “school policy regarding head coverings reflects our commitment to tradition and to egalitarian values. Both boys and girls are expected to cover their heads during prayer and when eating. Given the diversity of our community, some students may choose to wear head coverings throughout the day. Students come to school prepared with a head covering; appropriate choices include kippot, scarves and hats.” How should I respond to them? Is there any halachic basis for their policy? Is their policy in violation of Halacha? If there were any interesting sources on this topic that you think are relevant I would love to see.
Thank you very much and have a restful and enjoyable Shabbos
Thank you for your question.
It seems clear from the person’s answer that the reason for their wearing kippot in school is coming from an egalitarian angle, and not from a traditional one. In Jewish tradition, boys wear kippot, and girls don’t. In Jewish tradition, men and women we are taught that men and women have different bodies, physical, emotional, and phycological strengths and weaknesses, and each one was given by God a different job and purpose in the world that He created. Men are obligated in certain mitzvot that women are not, because if the nature of the job that they are destined to fulfill in this world. Women therefore are specifically exempt from numerous mitzvot because they are busy fulfilling God will and caring for their children and family. Men don’t have pregnancies, childbirths nor nurse, and women to impregnate. Each has their job, and the tools needed for that job, very similar to a dentist, and a lawyer that have different tools because they have different jobs. In fact, the Torah forbids men and women from wearing the opposite gender’s clothing. This prohibition is written in Deuteronomy 22-5, that men and women should not wear each other’s clothing. Kippot are traditionally won by men, not women, and women should not be wearing kippot- because they are not men- they are women. When they will be married, they will then cover their heads, (at least when they are in public), even when they are not praying or saying brachot.
As a side point, if the girls would like to come to school, and wear a scarf, or women’s hat during prayers, although it is not in line with the above stated ideas, it will not be a violation of halacha, because they are not wearing a man’s type of garment.
It should however be noted that you are not obligated to answer to what the person responded. In fact, I would advise you not to answer the person, because, they are not interested in hearing what you have to say, and you will not change them in such a forum, and it most probably will just cause a fight. If the school would be interesting that the student body keep in line with Jewish tradition, they would obligate the (male) students to wear kippot the whole day, and not just during prayer times, (as stated in Shulchan Aruch – Orach Chaim 2-6, and Mishna Berura 2-22). Instead of not obligating the boys to wear kippot, when they should, and instead obligating the girls to wear them. Nevertheless, you should know the answer for yourself.
Deuteronomy 22-5, Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 181-5, Orach Chaim 2-6.