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  Written by
  Sharla A. Stewart


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A lot of yarmulkes

Scan the sea of yarmulkes at a Jewish wedding on Chicago's North Side, and "mine is the one that stands out," says Naphtali Gutstein, AB'51. The ophthalmologist has been collecting religious and ethnic caps for more than 30 years, and each week he dons a different one of the 200-plus he has amassed. At any given time, 17 hang on pegs in his front hall. Though he calls it "my yarmulke collection," not all of the caps are kipot or even religious.

His first two were Yemenite skull caps, one purple and the other white with silver embroidery. Others come from West Africa, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and the Kochi Jewish community in Kerala, India. There are Jewish caps from Jerusalem, Switzerland, Panama, and Guatemala, and ethnic caps from Greece and Yugoslavia. And there is a recent gift from a friend who visited China. Does he have a favorite? "Oh, no," says Gutstein. "How could I?"






  OCTOBER 2001

  > > Volume 94, Number 1


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