Why would a Catholic wear a kippah?
When congregants and clergy throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee show up to Mass wearing kippot Nov. 8, that’s exactly the question Dean Daniels, ecumenical and interfaith coordinator for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, wants people to ask.
The answer? Daniels said he hopes “Kippah Day” will facilitate conversations about antisemitism and the relationship between Milwaukee’s Catholic and Jewish communities.
The event is sponsored by the Catholic-Jewish Conference, a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“I know for some people, it’s going to be a strange thing,” Daniels said. “But that’s okay. Because that’s how we learn.”
Both laypeople and clergy are participating, including Bishop Jeffery R. Haines of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee. At Mass, he’ll talk about why he’s wearing a kippah instead of a zucchetto, a similar-looking head covering worn by clerics of the Catholic Church, Daniels said.
Those participating are also asked to post on social media about their experience to help raise awareness.
“Kippah Day” was purposely scheduled close to the anniversary of Kristallnacht, Nov. 9 and 10. Also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” Kristallnacht marks the night when Nazis in Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland vandalized Jewish buildings and murdered close to 100 Jews.
Jenny Tasse, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said she hopes the event will spark conversations about the rise in antisemitism over the past few years.
“It’s a way of building empathy and understanding for moving differently throughout the world,” Tasse said.
Tasse said she spoke with Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Milwaukee community members to make sure they would be OK with non-Jews wearing kippot.
Those interested can sign up by contacting Daniels at 414-769–3483 or EcumenicalInterfaith@ArchMil.org. About 50 people had signed up in late October.
Daniels said he got the idea for “Kippah Day” from a similar event held by St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa.
“We Roman Catholics have to be very close to our Jewish brothers and sisters,” Daniels said. “Especially at this time when there’s so much antisemitism.”