Israel News

Why Israelis Wear White On Holidays

White after Labor Day? For Israelis, it’s a big yes!

Jews around the world are preparing for Rosh Hashanah – beginning at sundown on Friday, September 15, 2023 – and for many Israelis both secular and religious alike that means getting out their favorite white shirts, kippahs, or all-white outfits.

Learn more about this beautiful holiday tradition and what the color white means in Judaism below!

White on Holidays in Israel
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Anyone who's ever been to Israel on a major holiday such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or the first night of Sukkot or Passover might notice many people of all observance levels wearing white - from white dress shirts, polo shirts, or tees on men and dresses on women, to white tallits and kippahs on the more religious and even holiday prayer books with white or cream covers.

White is also a popular color to wear on shabbat, secular holidays like Independence Day or mourning days like Yom HaShoah, and on special occasions such as one's Bar Mitzvah.

 

A man walking to a synagogue in Tel Aviv, Israel, while wearing a white dress shirt - popular garb on shabbats and holidays

 

While light colors can be undeniably more comfortable for Israel's hot weather and endless sunshine, and reflect the more casual character of Israeli fashion, there is also a deeper meaning: White is a profoundly symbolic color in Judaism, commonly associated with special occasions and meaningful Judaica like the tallit. Israeli Jews have taken the color's importance quite seriously - which you can read more about in the next section below!

 

Jewish men reciting the holiday Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel, while wearing white tallits

 

Get ready for the holiday season with your own white tallit from Israel here!

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The Color White in Judaism
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Naturally, Israeli cultural practices come from Judaism. And white is a symbolic color in Jewish tradition, representing purity, God's mercy, and the soul.

This makes it a both a fitting color for occasions associated with a fresh new start like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and weddings, as well as for mournful commemorations of the souls of the deceased, such as Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers). Some Israelis even wear white at funerals for this reason!

There is also a Kabbalistic tradition to wear white on shabbat, as it's seen as a color of joy. This view has inspired a lot of even non-Kabbalist Jews in recent decades, and has extended into wearing white on holidays and other joyful days as well.

It's not uncommon for some Jews in certain diaspora communities to choose white on shabbats and holidays as well, especially on Yom Kippur - but Israelis really take this tradition seriously!

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Getting Ready for the High Holidays
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Why not take inspiration from Jewish and Israeli tradition and don white for the upcoming Jewish holidays yourself!

Make sure you have a tallit and white kippah, suitable for any holiday or shabbat, and check out our collection of white tzitzit undershirts and Yom Kippur kittels if it's your custom to wear one.

You can also round out your Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot look with a white polo shirt with a Jerusalem emblem, white socks with fun and meaningful Jewish designs, or even white sandals.

 

A boy wearing a white shirt, kippah, and tallit

 

Whatever you choose to wear, we wish you a happy and meaningful holiday season from all of us at Judaica WebStore!

Don't forget to shop our Rosh Hashanah collection for beautiful holiday essentials in every style, shipped to you straight from Jerusalem!

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