Can a Jewish Brother Wear a Yamaka in a Lodge Room?

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by scialytic, Oct 28, 2012.

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Can a Jewish Brother wear a Yamaka in Lodge?

  1. Yes

    87 vote(s)
    79.8%
  2. No

    12 vote(s)
    11.0%
  3. Only as Worshipful Master

    10 vote(s)
    9.2%
  1. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Well said, Brother. You captured my thoughts in your post much more clearly and eloquently than I could. Thank you.
     
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  2. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    This particular circumstance is really a moot point in my area because it's never going to come up.

    As for the flippant "Meh, we've got a way of doing things, but if you don't like it, we'll toss it" attitude, I disagree. That's what's gotten our society into the shape it's in. Take Masonry out of it: if an individual asks to join a group, the onus is on the individual to conform to the group's established customs and practices, not the other way around.
     
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  3. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    In other words, good men of all races, religions and backgrounds are welcome, so long as they are exactly like everyone else.

    And I don't take Masonry out of it. We Masons have a higher standard. For a Fraternity founded on tolerance, concerned with the true essence of a man, and which influenced the respect for individual rights in the fledgling American republic, I would think that a demand of conformity would not trump brotherhood. Moses Michael Hays, an eminent Mason, one of the earliest Grand Masters in Massachusetts (Paul Revere), and one of those who brought the Scottish Rite to America, was noted for his refusal, as a Jew, to conform to the requirement in parts of New England at the time that oaths be taken as a Christian. For this he was properly celebrated. He knew that a man who gives up his principles and his duty to God in order to fit in, to conform, was not a man of integrity.

    This topic raises my blood pressure. After taking a year's break from this topic, I will have to take at least another year.
     
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  4. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    Not once did I mention race, religion, or background. You did.

    My point was that if an individual asks to join a volunteer organization, don't expect the established majority to bend to the will of the newly-added one. That's why I even said take Masonry out of the picture. My point stands for any group. Let's say I asked to join a local soccer or basketball team. I get accepted but then tell them I don't like the team uniforms or the time they practice or where the group goes out to eat after games or whatever. Tough.

    If we conscripted members, I might have a different point of view. Every time you turn around in this country 999 people have to accommodate one person because they got offended or their feelings hurt.
     
  5. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    I'm breaking my rule by responding.

    Correct. You did not specifically mention race or background. However, religion is very much the point. I mention the others beause it seems like you view the toleration of difference as this onerous burden on everyone else that they must put up with.

    This is not the an issue of asking anyone to do anything to not hurt someone's feelings (though I forget when sparing someone's feelings became a bad thing - I was always tough that if you can, you probably should). This is merely recognizing that we have a choice. We can decide that a rule of etiquette is more important than our very basic tenet of accepting people of all faiths, or we can be true to the spirit of Freemasonry. We can choose to guard the West Gate well so that we are focused on bringing good men into the Fraternity, while being respectful of minor differences.

    And now I am out. Since I can't trust myself not to respond, I will have to stop even reading.
     
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  6. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    I will add this.

    My wife has a great GIF which shows a woman furiously typing with a frown on her face. The caption says "Be right there, honey. I just have to finish telling someone on the internet that he's wrong".

    It makes me smile every time I see it.
     
  7. Joseph Thornton

    Joseph Thornton Registered User

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    Not in 100% agreement with this. I am in general agreement.

    I worked at places that require every employee to be in the same uniform. But an exception was made for women of Penticostal denomination who did not wear uniform pants but long skirts in the appropriate color. I think this is one of the reasons, you may never find Penticostals serving in the military. Though there is little true doctrine to support a requirement to wear a long skirt / dress, but such a woman that DI NOT wear a dress like that would be outcast, scorned and ridiculed by the others, and likely in BIG trouble with her husband.

    As for Jews, and even Muslims. I personally have no issue with their headwear. But I also know that they have no issue with removing it for a while if they need to. I've seen em do it.
     
  8. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Brother Thornton,

    The fact that you have seen one Jewish person who removes his head covering has only tells you that particular person's beliefs about whether or not his head should be covered and when. Judaism is an diverse religion with a wide range of religious practices and not governing religious authority or doctrine. Some Jews never cover their heads, some believe it should be covered in a synagogue. Some believe it must be warn whenever and wherever one is at prayer or handling or reading holy books (count me there, which is why I slip one on when kneeling for the benefit of prayer in lodge), and some would never be uncovered except when sleeping or showering.
     
  9. Joseph Thornton

    Joseph Thornton Registered User

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    I dont pretend to speak for all Jews, just sharing an observation.

    And what about Jews of your sort in the military where you will not be able to wear the garment in uniform?

    Again, I personally have no issue with Jews wearing their headgear anywhere they choose. In fact, where I work there is a Rabbi that comes here every quarter to do kosher inspections. This facility requires protective headgear. He wears an Ivy type cap all day over his yamaka. And the same when he switches to safety gear. Removing his ivy hat, placing a hard hat over his yamaka. Then vice versa when he leaves. If you didnt see him switch hats, you would never know he is wearing one. SO that tell me, that to HIM, this is not just a hat. He wears his hats over it. And so in lodge, he technically would not be wearing a hat at all.

    As a Christian, I would enjoy spending more personal time with Jews so I can learn and understand better.
     
  10. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Good questions. Regarding the military: wearing a hat or a helmet makes wearing a yarmulke unnecessary. As long as your head is covered, you are in compliance. If a military situation will not allow a head covering at all, the principal that the preservation of life trumps virtually all religious requirements would likely apply, since the military would likely be considered a life and death situation.

    I will note that as of 2014, the US military allows yarmulkes as well as other religious headgear, though I am sure there are regulations around size and such for safety reasons. Beards worn for religious reasons are also allowed, again likely with some regulations around them. You might not want a 4 foot beard in a combat situation.

    So why did the Rabbi put on the hard hat over his yarmulke? Another good question. I cannot tell you his personal reason, but it is most likely convenience, and not wanting to either lose it or accidentally walk around without it. My orthodox friends always put their baseball caps on over it because if they take them off and stick them in a pocket, they might lose it (which you don't want to do if it is a nice one or a gift or something), and also because if you are used to always having one in, it would be easy enough to take off your hat and, forgetting you had stuck the yarmulke in your pocket, you might walk around bareheaded without realizing it. It's really the same reason I don't remove my rings when I wash my hands. I might forget I've done it and walk away, leaving them on the counter. I will admit to losing many a yarmulke when I was a kid, or sending a couple of nice ones through the wash and ruining them because I stuck them in my pocket once school was out (I went to religious school where we had to wear them all the time).

    Ari Marcus
    Junior Deacon
    Norfolk Lodge
    Needham, Ma
     
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  11. Mindovermatter Ace

    Mindovermatter Ace Registered User

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    Long thread for a simple answer.....No!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  12. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    The answer is far from simple and in many jurisdictions woukd be no issue for a Jewish Brother to wear a kippah.

    Transmitted via my R5 astromech.
     
  13. The Traveling Man

    The Traveling Man Registered User

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    I respect a Brothers religion. But I feel that if the rules in a Jurisdiction state that only the Master wears a hat then that's how it should be. If those rules are stated up front then it gives the candidate the option to back out if he so desires... There are instances where no metal is to be worn and a married man would be expected to take his ring off. Similar principle... I wouldn't call a Brother out if I walked into Lodge and seen someone wearing a Yamaka, but I wouldn't like it. Prayers in Lodge are non denominational so I don't see how it'd be a violation for the Brother to be present, without his Yamaka, during a prayer in Lodge.
     
  14. Mindovermatter Ace

    Mindovermatter Ace Registered User

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    To which jurisdictions would you be referring to? Can you be more specific?
     
  15. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    It's no issue to wear one in Craft Lodges working under UGLV
     
  16. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The issue is extremely simple.

    Both of the jurisdictions whose rules I know well (California and Illinois) long ago declared the yarmuke to be a part of the body. Simple.

    I have seen a GM put his hat on over his yarmulke when taking the grand eastern chair at GL.
     
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  17. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    I meant that it wasn't simple only because different jurisdictions and Brothers obviously have different thoughts on the matter. I know I don't see a problem with a Jewish Brother wearing a yarmulka or a sikh Brother wearing their head covering in Lodge. But this thread woukd not have gone as long as it has if it were a simple yes or no answer.

    Transmitted via my R5 astromech.
     
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  18. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    I know Wisconsin and Illinois and I suspect Florida may be the same from discussions I have had, but I am not positive on that.

    Transmitted via my R5 astromech.
     
  19. Joseph Thornton

    Joseph Thornton Registered User

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    If every question could be answered simply and with no debate or review, many topics would not be FULLY covered and so there would be more REPEAT questions over and over.

    Also there would be less need to even use a forum considering that many of the visitors here want to talk, engage and stimulate.
     
  20. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The only reason I don't list the answer for my third jurisdiction is so far I've only read the Texas Masonic law book through cover to cover once. I don't know the material well enough to know without looking it up. Here's the reason the answer is simple - It can be looked up. Here's why the answer is simple - Look it up. Here's why I think various Brothers have various opinions - They have not yet looked it up.

    Once a jurisdiction settles the matter, a Brother's thoughts on the matter are only an issue until he looks it up. Everyone knows what they say about the word "assume". This is why various types of Masonic education matter so much. Learning the GL regulations is one form of Masonic education.

    For Illinois I am positive. I know the Masonic code book well for Illinois having been in the east twice in that jurisdiction. Long ago the yarmulke was declared a part of a Brother's body.

    In Illinois there's technically a requirement to read a section of the code at every Stated meeting. I lived up to that requirement the second year I was in the east in Illinois (sigh, not all that many Illinois lodges have even noticed the written requirement). This is one of the sections I read to the lodge.

    If it hasn't been decided in your jurisdiction - That's a challenge for you. Go through the line to have vote in GL. Propose settling the issue in accord with nearly all other jurisdictions. But I'll bet you that your jurisdiction decided this long ago and you just haven't looked it up yet.
     
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