Friday, May 18, 2007

Stay-on yarmulke a quick hit

Every year, Jon Kaweblum starts off the the basketball season the same way.

The volunteer coach at Weinbaum Yeshiva High School drills his players. He schedules late-night practices. And he sends a letter to the Florida High School Athletic Association asking permission for his players to use bobby pins or clips to keep their yarmulkes, or traditional Jewish skullcaps, in place during games.

But this year, the association didn't approve the Boca Raton school's request, citing safety reasons.

''It was going to be a big issue because we could have put up a fight,'' said Kaweblum, 26, an architecture student at Florida Atlantic University's Fort Lauderdale campus. ``A yarmulke really symbolizes what an Orthodox Jewish school is all about.''

Instead of trying to prove a point, Kaweblum went to a wig store to learn how wigs are made to stay on. After a trip to a seamstress, the Klipped Kippah was born.

Kaweblum, of Aventura, sent the athletic association a prototype of the Klipped Kippah, which has two built-in clips with combs on two sides.

''Based on our review it didn't seem that it would pose a threat to the safety of users or competitors, so it was approved for the '06-'07 season,'' said Denarvise Thornton, the association's senior director of athletic operations and officials. ``What we are concerned with is that in a lot of instances a clip or pin can come off during the game. It's no different than an official in wrestling looking at the fingernails of a wrestler.''

Kippahs, also known as yarmulkes, are skullcaps worn by many Jews during religious services, and by Orthodox Jews at all times.


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