Manhattan’s Ramaz school clarifies advice on concealing kippahs


When Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the principal of Ramaz, an Orthodox day school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, first heard about “>letter about school security shortly afterward to students, parents and faculty, many were startled to find in it a suggestion about concealing kippahs, which Shaviv attributed to Lookstein.

“The recent incident involving abuse and harassment of a couple in the neighborhood has aroused comment. This seems to have been — thankfully — an isolated incident,” the email said. “However, Rabbi Lookstein suggests that parents may consider advising their children to be discreet in wearing uncovered kippot, tzitzit, etc. It remains good advice not to walk around the streets displaying iPads or other ‘vulnerable’ items; not to text, or listen to music via ear buds while walking (distracting your attention from the surroundings), and under all circumstances being prudent and aware of personal space and personal safety.”

Contacted by JTA, Shaviv took pains to say the school wasn’t advocating that students conceal their kippahs or tuck the ritual fringes of their tzitzit so much as merely passing along Lookstein’s suggestion.

“The school is not suggesting it. We’re passing on a suggestion,” Shaviv said in an interview, noting that he had no intention of concealing his own yarmulke. “All we’re saying is it is something that some parents may wish to discuss with their kids – no more, no less.”

He added, “Rabbi Lookstein has now reconsidered and may not want to suggest that after all.”

Now, Lookstein says, his view is clear.

“We don’t want this to become