Jews in turbans

I’ve always had a fondness for turbans in general. It turns out that they had been worn by Jews for a very long time.  Just from my years of Talmud study, I got the impression that ancient Babylonian Jews crowned their heads with this noble garment; it just seemed to me it would be a natural part of their culture.  Or perhaps I had come across specific mentions of the practice.  I can’t remember for sure.  But somebody else has done the research for me:

Newcomers to Hebrew have to learn that the Hebrew word for “to wear” (labash) can be used for most garments, but a different verb must be used to indicate the wearing of a hat: habash. The verb actually means “to wrap” (and is the root of the word for “bandage” for example). Its origin dates back to a time when the only thing a well-dressed Jew would be likely to be wearing on his head was a turban, a long piece of cloth that would have to be wrapped around the head.
It appears that among the Jews of Babylonia the turban was felt to have special spiritual efficacy. It is told of one rabbi for whom the astrologers had foretold a life of crime, that as a counter-measure his mother insisted on his wearing a turban at all times. Once during his childhood, when it accidentally unravelled, he found himself unable to resist the temptation to take a bite at someone else’s dates.
In general it seems that the turban was viewed as the distinctive mark of Torah scholars, who saw their wearing such a head-covering as a sign of special piety.

I happen to have some old photos/sketches of Iraqi “hakhamim” (the Sephardic/Oriental equivalent of “rabbis”) and I’ve scanned them in.  If anybody wants to see more, just let me know:

It seems that the tradition, amongst Babylonian Jews, of wearing turbans started in distant antiquity and continued uninterrupted until the early, or mid 20th century.  The final death blow to this tradition was the relocation of almost all Iraqi Jews to Israel, where their ancient and priceless culture was mindlessly thrown into the blender.  It is doubtful if there are any living Iraqi Jews today who remember the particulars of the preparation and wearing of turbans.  It could be that the particulars were recorded in a book at some point but I’m not familiar with any such book.  If not, turban historians will have little to go on.  What a pity.



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13 Responses to Jews in turbans

  1. Patrick says:

    The second picture down has facial features that remind me of features I have seen on other jewish people.

    • Michael Caza-Schonberger says:

      What would you expect, this is a blog about Jews wearing turbans. Of course you’d see photos of members of my people having the “facial features…” that you have “seen on other Jewish people”.

  2. Bay Area Guy says:

    Interesting post. What makes this blog different from other white advocacy blogs is that readers also get to learn about interesting Jewish history!
    Speaking of that, since this blog discusses Jewish issues along with race realism and white issues, I think a new post (you kind of touched on it in the Israel Lobby post) on Jewish consciousness, nationalism, as well as opposition to Jewish advocacy within the Jewish community would be fascinating.
    I think a discussion of how Jews maintained their identity and consciousness despite vicious persecution and pressures to assimilate would be very educational.
    While I would never try to compare the current predicament of whites to the hardships endured by the Jews as a hated minority throughout history, I think that examples of Jewish consciousness and solidarity could serve as an important lesson to all whites, be they Jewish or gentile.
    Mark my words, we will soon be a minority in at least the United States, and European nations may follow. If we don’t develop a strong sense of pride and consciousness, we won’t survive.

    • jewamongyou says:

      A book could be written about Jewish separatism and identity preservation techniques – and certainly there already are some books on those topics. Just from the top of my head, and at this early hour in the morning, I’d have to say that religion played the major role in keeping Jews together. Unfortunately, whites have no single faith they can call their own – though Christianity did serve as justification for many racial policies and attitudes, it just doesn’t seem to be a tribal religion.

      • Konkvistador says:

        One shouldn’t discount several other mechanism including having their own language (Jiddish must have represented a barrier in Eastern Europe just as Pennsylvania Dutch represents a barrier for those wanting to join the Amish) or circumcision for that matter.

  3. Ryan says:

    I think if anything, with Islamic immigration, it will bring Whites and Jews (Yes I think Jews are white too, but you know what I mean) together.
    Not that this video shows Jews and Whites coming together, but it does show persectution of Jews by Muslims. We seem to have a common threat to our way of life. Jews in particular because they are threaten significantly more I think.

    • Aryeh Chaim Sura says:

      Jews are of all different colors not just white. My family is Persian and we are brown. Have been brown for a thousand or more years. I wear a turban btw and my kippah is shown on top.

  4. Pingback: Head Coverings - Christian Forums

  5. elishebabb says:

    truly pious Jews & truly pious Muslims have always been persecuted by people proclaiming to be Christians

  6. Yirmeyahu says:

    Wonderful post. In the talmud ( I can’t remember which tractate) it talks about a garment that is solid white that is lined with blue. This garment is about 60 inches by 60 inches, it’s square, and is wrapped around the head. The talmud calls it a sudra, or shudra. It is believed to be the ancestor of the modern day arab kiffeyeh. It amazes me the amount of culture we have lost as jews since we have been living amongst the goyim of the world. I think it is time to reclaim our heritage.

    • jewamongyou says:

      Thanks! I believe it’s “sudra”. But to be fair, we may have gotten it from the goyim. Fashions come and go and, as much as I’d love to resurrect ancient Jewish garb, we should remain open to the likelihood that even ancient Jewish traditions were learned from other peoples.

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