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What to Wear to a Jewish Temple

Jewish Temple

Going to a Jewish temple for the first time can be a very different experience style wise. There are aspects of the clothing that are unique to the temple.

Men’s Clothing

For men, part of the required dress code is the yarmulke. All men and boys must wear the yarmulke when they enter the temple. These are small, round hats that fit onto the very top of the head. The temple will have these at the entrances to make them available to everyone. If the hat falls off onto the floor at any time, kiss it before putting it back on.

Wearing a suit to the temple is a very safe choice for any temple. These are always stylish, always accepted and they leave you in no danger of being disrespectful. If you don’t have a suit to wear, approximate the look of a suit with a dressy pair of slacks in tan, black or dark blue. Wear a button-up shirt with the pants and a sport jacket or blazer with it. This look can generally be worn without a tie as long as the clothing looks god together and appears dressy.

Wear the best shoes you can with your outfit. Nice shoes that are in good condition and that that are dressy enough for a suit are the best shoes to wear.

Women’s Clothing

Women must dress modestly in a Jewish temple. The upper arms must stay covered, so avoid strapless or sleeveless outfits. Look for ¾ or long sleeves when you search for an outfit. This is a conservative look that is the most appropriate for the occasion.

A suit or a dress should be worn to the temple. A pair of slacks and a button-up shirt will likely not be dressy enough. A full suit, including a jacket and a matching pair of pants will be the most appropriate type of pants to wear. There are some temples that don’t allow women to wear pants. If you don’t have a dress, call ahead and find out whether pants are allowed.

If you have a long dress with ¾ or long sleeves, this will do nicely for the temple. Make sure that the dress is of a modest length. Never wear a dress that is knee length or shorter. A dress that comes below the calves is the best choice for most temples. If your skirt will be showing some leg, wear pantyhose with them.

If the temple is an Orthodox one, a hair covering should be worn for married women. In some temples, all women are expected to cover their hair. If you aren’t sure whether a head covering is needed, carry a scarf in your handbag just in case you need to wear it. This will help to avoid any embarrassment if you arrive and discover that the temple requires the covering.

Some temples require prayer shawls to be worn during certain services. The morning services generally require one of these shawls. Like the yarmulke, the shawls are generally provided at the door to make sure that everyone has one to wear.

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