I am a gentile and hope you don't mind me contacting you for some advice. A much respected Jewish gentleman and business contact of mine passed away last month in his nineties and is due to be remembered at a memorial service in synagogue next week. I intend to go, but am a little concerned about the kippah. I have very little (short) hair and am unsure how will the kippah stay on my head?
I have many Jewish friends and associates, and this will be my first time in synagogue. I want to do the right thing and not make a fool of myself...
I am glad you wrote to me and happy to answer your query.
It is very likely that there will be a little basket of kippahs as you enter the memorial service. Often this is provided for those who didn't bring their own. While it is not compulsory for a gentile to wear one, often they do in order to show respect for the sanctity of the place and the occasion.
As to the mystery of how the kippah stays on, your lack of hair may work in your favour. If you get one that isn't too small, it should sit nicely on the top of your head and stay there.
As a rough guide, here is how not to do it:
And then here are some samples of successful kippah positioning:
With short hair
With more hair and a clip
Let me just add, please don't be too apprehensive about it. There will most likely be many people, Jews and gentiles alike, of varying degrees of religious observance and knowledge attending the service. You may think you are the odd one out and everyone is wondering what you are doing there. No one will be thinking that of you. And with your comfortably perched kippah you will fit right in.
Thanks for your question, and I hope you will have more joyous occasions to share with your kippah on,