Word of the Day / Kippa Aduma: Avatar of Feminism in Fairy-tales

Most English speakers know the "kippa" from its varied colors and snug fit on the head, but Hebrew has a few more uses for the phrase - including a nod to a certain fairytale heroine.

red kippah adumah soccer
A Tel Aviv Hapoel soccer player demonstrates another type of "kippa aduma" - a red yarmulkah. Reuters

Many English speakers familiar with Jewish ritual practice know that the skullcap worn by religious Jewish men (a “yarmulke,” in Yiddish) is known in Hebrew as a “kippa.” But it also has other meanings in Hebrew, such as “dome” and a more generic “cap,” and is used in many contexts where you wouldn’t expect to see too many yarmulkes -- like the Dome of the Rock, which in Hebrew is called either Kipat Hasela (“sela” means “rock”) or Kipat Hazahav, a reference to the gold dome that is the Muslim shrine’s most recognizable feature.

If you’re sitting in the open air, you’re under kipat hashamayim (literally “the sky dome”), and the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system is Kipat Barzel, though that “iron kippa” sounds more like it should have pride of place on the wish list of any self-respecting Jewish knight in shining armor.

And while a man wearing a red kippa has a kippa aduma on his head, the girl called Kippa Aduma is actually Little Red Riding Hood.

So although the cloaked forest-traipser may appear to be just another fairy-tale figure left helpless until a man comes along to rescue her, in a certain sense this kippa-donning girl can actually be seen as an avatar of Jewish feminism.