Chances are that if you grew-up in a Reform congregation in the 1950s and 1960s, no one wore a yarmulke. In those days, Reform rejected ritual practices that seemed outmoded and that set Jews apart from their Christian neighbors.
However, in the 1970s, with growing self-confidence in our ethnic identities, coupled with the growth of the Jewish counter-culture movement (think Jewish Catalog) Reform Jews began to appropriate traditional practices. Wearing a yarmulke, called a ‘kippah’ in Hebrew, was one sign of this development.
Initially, only a small number of Jewish men chose to wear a kippah at synagogue. Over time, it became customary for males to cover their heads while in shul.
It has taken more time for women to become accustomed to this practice. Some females have rejected wearing a standard kippah made out of cloth, velvet, or satin, associating it with what men wear. However, artists have created kippot that are designed for women that many find appealing.
About a year ago, our Worship Committee studied the practice of wearing kippot and as a result, decided to encourage women to wear them. As a result, there are now different styles of kippot available for anyone coming to our services. There are lots to choose from. Having a choice in covering our heads is part of what makes us a Reform congregation.