Jewish Clothing – Jewish religious clothing

The Jewish clothing is the religious garment usually worn by all Jewish people in connection with the Judaism practice. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. As time passes by, the religious clothing of the Jewish people had changed a lot, but still, the touch of Jewish religious law and the biblical commandments remain in their modesty or tzniut and clothing. The modern styles and designs in the culture and traditions of Jewish also change the religious garment of Jewish people, yet these modern styles and designs are only limited.

Historical Background

According to the Hebrew Bible of the Jewish people, there is a verse stated the fourth rules for the clothing that, later on, followed by the rabbinical tradition, were symbolizes on distinguishing the Jewish people from the other people living in the same community.

Traditional Roman and Greek sources that usually ridicule the lives of Jewish people in several factors do not leave any mark to their garments and clothing, similar on what they do on Persian, Germanic, and Celtic people and deride their several types of clothing. Eric Silverman, a cultural anthropologist, stated that the Jewish during the time of late antiquity used to wear hairstyles and garments similar to the people in their environment.

According to Maccabees 4:12, it was stated there that Maccabees execute guilty all the Jews male and female teenagers who Hellenize the Greek youths’ caps. Male Jewish who are living in Islamic communities usually wear tunics rather than trousers. Some of the local regulations of the same Islamic communities combined to make the Jewish people and Christians look distinctive in their physical appearances. During the year of 1198, Almohad emir Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur declared that Jewish people are required to wear garb in dark blue paired with an oversized hat and big sized sleeves. But his son changes the garb’s color into yellow, and after a few years. Erich Brauer, a German ethnographer, stated that during his time in the Land of Yemen, Jewish people, specifically men are only allowed to wear any garments only in blue color. And in the year of Jacob Saphir, particularly in the year of 1859, the Jewish people allowed to use outer clothing that is all colored in black.

Jewish Men’s Clothing

According to Jewish history, all male Jews usually wear sandals, Tallits, tunics, and turban.

Tallit Kattan, Tzitzit, and Tallit

The so-called tallit is the prayer shawl of Jewish people that are being used during the recitation of morning prayers and in the synagogue of Sabbath and any Jewish High Holidays. In the land of Yemen, using these kinds of clothing was not only used during morning prayers, but it is worn the whole day. Almost all communities of Ashkenazi, men can only wear his tallit after their wedding ceremony. As you can see, the tallit contains special knotted and twined strings that were commonly known as the tzitzit that were affixed on the four corners of the tallit. The tzitzit of the tallit is often called as the arba kanfot, even though the word is more suitable in tallit katan. Tallit katan is the clothing under the tzitzit. According to the commandments of the Lord God, the tzitzit of the Jewish people must be affixed in any garment that has four corners. The string that is dyed in the blue color is popular in the name of techelet. And this so-called techelet must also be included in the Jewish’s tzitzit. When a male Jewish die, he will be buried with the tallit and the tachrichim, which is a burial item.

Since these traditions are considered as an Orthodox tradition, only the Jewish people are permitted to wear these garments. There is a Jewish law indicating that female Jews are not prohibited from wearing a tallit, but they are exempted on wearing it. But there are some female Jews who prefer to have their obligations about the tefillin and tallit, and it is now widely known that a Jewish girl will only have her tallit when she celebrated the bat mitzvah celebration.


Kittel is a Yiddish terminology that can be written as קיטל, are the leaders usually wear a robe that has knee-length in white color during the recitation of the Jewish prayers. Kittel is also worn sometimes by the Orthodox Jewish during the celebration of their High Holidays. In some Jewish families, the household leader also wears kittel during the Passover Seder meal, while another Jewish family, the married male Jews is the only one who can wear the kittel. During the wedding ceremony of the Orthodox Jews, it is a custom that the groom will wear the kittel.


A Yarmulke or kippah is also known is the word skull cap or kappel, is a slightly rounded thin skullcap that is traditionally used by the male Orthodox Jews every time. In some Reform and Conservative communities, both men and women are allowed to wear a kippah. The use of kippah is connected to showing the reverence and respect by the Jewish people to the Lord God. The Jews in the Land of Arab did not usually wear a kippah. Instead, they are using a big rounded cap without their brims.

Female Jewish’s Clothing

As you can see, the married female Jews usually wear beret, hat, snood, and scarf or also called as mitpahat or titchel or sometimes a sheitel or a wig, to comply all the Jewish religious law requirements in the Eastern communities. This is because according to the law of the Jews, married women must cover their hair with any types of head coverings.

Veiling in public, the female Jews were distinguished from the other people living in the Western communities of the Roman Empire. The veiling in public is the custom of Jewish women influenced the customs of other Jews in the land of Eastern communities. This custom was used by many women to determine that they are one of the Jewish people. This custom remains with all the Orthodox female Jews. Proof of this is written in the Talmud, which shows that all the female Jews must wear shawls atop of their heads when they plan to go to other places, but Talmud did not indicate that a married female Jews must cover her body including her face. In medieval times, the female Jews begin to veil their faces because they were influenced by the Islamic communities where they are living. And in other Muslim communities, female Jews start to veil their faces until the year of the 1930s. In some Kurdish communities, female Jews did not cover their face at all.

According to the rabbinic traditions written in the Book of Talmud, Maimonides, which is a 12th-century philosopher prohibited the imitations of the non-Jewish apparel or garments when the same type of garment has improper styles or mythical doings.

The same question was also answered by Rabbi Joseph Colon, which is the 15th century philosopher regarding the garments and apparel of non-Jews and the chances that a Jews who wear these types of garments degenerate the prohibition of the Bible saying that “You shall not walk in their precepts,” according to Leviticus 18:3 of the Hebrew Bible. In the extended responsum, Joseph Colon states that any male or female Jews who practice physician is allowed to use the cape of a physician, which is worn by the non-Jewish physician as their uniform on the track they have chosen. Also, any physician who is a Jew who uses it did not violate the Biblical laws written in the Hebrew Bible.


To sum it up, even though both men and women are Jews, it doesn’t mean that female Jews will wear the same garments of male Jews and vice versa. There are lots of differences between the two types of Jewish people including the way they dress up. There some clothing of female Jews that must not be worn by male Jews and vice versa.

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