In 2008, I began wearing a headcovering to our messianic congregation.  I wear it for the whole time I am there, as I believe that is how this halachah is to be practiced, based on the scripture (1 Cor 11:13) and tradition.  Am I not praying, off and on, while I am at Shul?  So, I put on a hat, and keep it on until I leave. Rather than put it on and take if off based on whether I am praying or not.  It is so freeing! Plus, I don't have to spend a lot of time fixing my hair!

I researched this subject on the internet as well and became convicted that I needed to do this because it would be honoring not only the scriptures but Jewish tradition to have. There are a variety of headcoverings: hats, snoods, berets, tiechels, lace 'dollies' and scarves. I use them all.  I've discovered that the scarves can be tied in various ways so they are not 'hanging' around my face. I do not wear kippot (skull hats) as those are for me.

1 Cor 11:13 "Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?"


TRADITIONAL CLOTHING RULE: Jews keep their heads covered.  Also, women cover their heads when praying and/or reading from Torah.

MEN: This is done most easily with a skull cap called a kippah (in Hebrew), or a yarmulka (in Yiddish). There is no mention in the Torah about head coverings. Not one. In fact, the Egyptian and Mesopotamian pictures we have of Canaanites and Hebrews show them long-haired and bare-headed. Even during the Greek and Roman periods, pictures show Jews to be bare-headed. However, during that same time, our Sages stated that it was important for Jews to cover their heads . The Talmud (Shabbat 156b) assumes that anyone who goes without a head covering is going to become a thief: "

Today, the skull cap is one of the ongoing arguments between different groups of Jews. Traditional Jews see the yarmulkas (or kippah) as one of the signs of the Faithful. They insist it is now a mitzvah, a commandment, to wear a kippah. They get this from the mitzvah that we are not to follow the same customs as the non-Jews. Since non-Jews pray with their heads bare, it is a mitzvah to pray with our heads covered. They also point to the thousands years that Jews have been wearing the kippah and insist that it's a sign of being Jewish.

Most modern traditional Jews wear small crocheted kippot fastened with bobby pins. Many Reforms Jews identify themselves as Reform Jews by NOT wearing a kippah. There was a time when Reform congregations refused to allow anyone to wear a yarmulka, viewing it has a primitive custom which separated the Jew from the cultured, modern society. It was important to Reform Jews that their Judaism fit into the non- Jewish world. They didn't want clothes which made them look different. Just the opposite: they viewed the kippah as being Jewishly wrong! Today, most Reform synagogues provide yarmulkes for whoever wishes to wear them. They do not insist on its being worn. The choice becomes yours. Some Reform Jews wear skull caps during services but at no other time. They feel it's important to make a Jewish clothing statement while praying, but they don't want to wear a skull cap the rest of the day.

WOMEN: In contrast to Jewish men, since Bible times Jewish women have ALWAYS had their heads covered. To unveil a woman's head was a sign of humiliation and punishment. Some of our Sages declared her hair to be both the most private and sexiest part of a woman. During the time of the Talmud, if a woman walked bare-headed in public, her husband could theoretically divorce her! Although it was Halachah, Jewish Law, that women keep their hair covered, for the past two thousand years married Jewish women have found the finest decorative hair covering possible to follow this mitzvah. The styles of these head-covering were based on the styles of their surrounding cultures.

In the late 18th century, married women began covering their heads with a wig, a SHEITEL. Many Rabbis opposed this new covering form because they saw it as being indecent. The purpose of the head covering was to make the woman modest. Wigs made the women look good. Today, the sheitel is worn by only the most traditional Jewish women. They wear them as a sign of modesty by keeping their real hair covered. Many traditional Jewish women keep their hair covered by a scarf (called a tichel) or hat. Few Reform Jews follow this custom today. I suspect that the reason they don't is that they don't view hair as being that private.

However, it DID become a Reform Jewish custom for years that every woman wear a HAT at services. WHY? Because it was a custom in Christian churches for women to wear hats, and Reform Jewish women wanted to look like regular Americans. In fact, back in the 1950's women wore hats whenever they went out. It was the fashion back then. I suspect if hats ever come back into American fashion, we will see more women wearing hats to synagogue as well, but that's a different reason than the one we've been talking about.
You can find more information about Jewish head covers on the internet.