The Jewish men were surrounding a bell hop at a local Jerusalem Hotel sharing in jokes and laughs prior to their big night with their big furry hats.
“So why the hats,” I asked a local onlooker. It was as if I was from outer space… “Look at how they are combed up, towards God – It gets them closer to God,” was the response I got. While that didn’t tell me much, it did tell me there was a religious meaning to the furry spectacle.
The hat is called a Shtreimel and it is worn by many married Haredi Jewish Men on Shabbat or any festive occasion… you know, when you want that special GQ look. Generally speaking, the hat is worn only after marriage. However, there are exceptions to the marriage rule.
First of all, the special fur hat is not to be worn with everyday Jewish clothing. It is for the dressier gear one would find themselves in at a wedding as the groom to be or at a special dinner event. For the groom to be, it is a tradition for the bride’s father to purchase the costly hat that is often made of real animal fur.
As for religion of the hat itself, it is associated with the holiness of Shabbat and viewed as a crown which enhances and beautifies Shabbat. By the way, Shabbat simply means Sabbath and it is recognized as a day of rest.