The Jewish History Museum’s summer exhibit, “Skullcaps and Shul Hats,” which runs through June 30, focuses on two family collections of head coverings. One is a collection of elegant shul hats worn by Tucsonan Nicki Lasky’s mother, Sara Kaplowitz Greenberg. They range from “fascinators,” small, often feathered decorative headpieces, to beaded and woven small hats. Lasky remembers her mother wearing these hats to synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn., in the late 1930s through the early ’50s.
Women didn’t always wear hats to Shabbat services, but “no one in my mother’s generation would be caught dead without a hat for High Holy Day Services. It was true that way in the South and in the Northeast, but I don’t know about the West,” says Lasky, adding that in the Southwest, “everyone should wear a hat all the time … with a brim!”
The second collection is from Cecily Bressel, owner of Arizona Ballet Theatre. A former professional ballet dancer, “she has some of the best stage presence in town and knows how to put together a costume,” says JHM Executive Director Judy Rose Sensibar.
“We have both the white hat she wore to her son Raphael’s Bar Mitzvah and the golden-threaded kippah he wore that day,” says Sensibar. The Bressel family also has loaned the museum a collection of kippot from Afghanistan, which Bressel purchased in Brookline, Mass., fascinated by their intricate, traditional Khamak embroidery.
For more information, visit www.jewishhistorymuseum.com.