Jack Abramoff, Proud Jew

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by William Joyce, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. William Joyce

    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

    Jan 23, 2004
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    What's in a hat?

    To most people, Jack Abramoff's stylish brim says "Godfather." But if you're an observant Jew, it tells a much different story.

    By Stephen Hirsch

    Jan. 6, 2006 | The picture of Jack Abramoff walking out of a federal courthouse on Tuesday wearing a distinctive fedora is by now iconic. And chances are, like Howard Fineman and Maureen Dowd, you thought he looked like a gangster. But that wasn't my reaction. What struck me was that Abramoff was wearing my hat, a Borsalino, the ne plus ultra of Yeshiva boy caps. Tucked tight on his head, pinched even, perfectly symmetrical (if a little deep for my taste), it was immaculate.

    Maybe the contrition Abramoff expressed in his statements was real. Maybe he even recited "Baruch Dayan Emes," the blessing you make when you hear really bad news, after he went to court. Maybe he was wearing a yami (a diminutive yarmulke) underneath his fedora. While it's no secret that he's an Orthodox (if not Torah-observant, or frum) Jew, I've never seen a picture of him with either a Borsalino or yarmulke before. Why now?

    As opposed to Abramoff, who I believe was raised frum from birth, I'm what is called a Baal Tshuva, a Jew who used to live a secular lifestyle, but now observes Shabbos (the Sabbath), keeps kosher, davens (prays) three times a day, etc. I wear my Borsalino every Shabbos, every Yom Tov (Jewish holiday), and at weddings and other special Jewish occasions. By wearing the Borsalino to court, I imagine that Abramoff was emotionally retreating into the safety of our insular world. I wonder if he read all the subsequent "gangster look" stories; maybe that's why he switched to the baseball cap yesterday?

    When I become friendly with non-Jews, they inevitably ask, "Why do you guys dress like that?" My answer always surprises: At the end of the day, the hat is basically a fashion statement. Religiously speaking, a Borsalino or a black felt yami is equivalent to a baseball cap, but socially, it means everything.

    Observant Jews are commanded to set themselves apart from non-Jews. Indeed, the Talmud mentions that one of the reasons we were redeemed from Egypt, despite our falling into the depths of spiritual decay, is that we kept our separate style of dress. Basically, how different we look is a sign of how connected or disconnected we are from the rest of society.

  2. Annie

    Annie Diamond Member

    Nov 22, 2003
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    I don't know or care if he's Jew, Christian, or atheist, the most likely being last. He's a shi*.

Share This Page