Jewish brothers turn yarmulkes into masks for homeless amid coronavirus

Pretty good for an idea they got off the top of their heads.

A pair of Jewish teenage brothers in Houston have turned hundreds of yarmulkes into improvised face masks to protect homeless Texans during the coronavirus crisis, according to reports.

While volunteering with Food Not Bombs, a Space City nonprofit that helps feed the hungry, Matthew and Jeremy Jason were struck by the particular peril the bug presents for the homeless.

“They don’t have a lot of money or access to masks,” Matthew, 15, told CNN. “So we’re like, ‘Hmm, that’d actually be kind of cool to see what we could do with it.’”

Divine inspiration struck over one Shabbat dinner, when it occurred to the brothers that a yarmulke, or kippah, bears a striking resemblance to a face mask.

“We realized that the kippah fits the shape of a mask,” Matthew told the network.

Kippahs to the Rescue was born as the teens, their older brother and their parents scoured their home and came up with dozens of yarmulkes that they’d brought home from bar mitzvahs and other events over the years.

“One-hundred-and-fifty kippahs was way too much for a family of five people to have around the house,” Matthew told Houston’s Jewish Herald-Voice, which first reported on the initiative. “So, we are glad we are able to put them to good use.”

By sewing or clipping elastic bands to the yarmulkes, the brothers were able to transform the traditional head coverings into face coverings.

Through a team effort, they’ve made and distributed over 300 makeshift masks so far, according to reports.

Their family has pitched in to help attach the elastic bands, while their synagogue, the Congregation Brith Shalom, has set up a collection box to which hundreds of additional yarmulkes have been donated.

And Food Not Bombs has helped hand out the masks to those in need.

“People are very grateful that we are doing this,” Jeremy told the Jewish Herald-Voice. “We also handed them out to the other volunteers who were there.”

Younger brother Matthew told CNN that the initiative was just their way of doing their part during the pandemic.

“The community has given us a lot, and my family wants to be a part of that,” he said. “We want to be able to help others.”


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