Pass the hat, please.
It was a truly religious experience for barmitzvah boy Jacob Feit Mann when he and Timothy Cardinal Dolan swapped skullcaps – one black and the other red – yesterday at an Upper West Side synagogue.
“I was just, like, ‘Wow! I’d better not lose this one!’ ” said the exuberant youth.
Jacob was sitting with his parents in the front rowof the Lincoln Square Synagogue, where Dolan had been invited to speak on relations between Catholics and Jews.
After he stepped down, he went up to the cardinal and asked if they could switch kippahs –the Hebrew word for yarmulke – his black one for his eminence’s traditional red zucchetto.
Dolan replied, mischievously, “I think that might happen.”
As the cardinal addressed the congregation, Jacob said, “He called me over while he was speaking, and we switched skullcaps. That was fun.
“I thought it was really cool. I think I probably had the coolest bar mitzvah in my class.”
After swapping caps, Dolan kept Jacob’s yarmulke on throughout the rest of the service.
Dolan asked Jacob to autograph his, but the boy said he couldn’t because writing is forbidden on the Sabbath.
Dolan quipped it was OK for him because “it’s not my Sabbath until tomorrow.”
Dolan signed the inside of his red cap: “To Jacob, Tim. Cardinal Dolan 23/2/13.”
“When we switched, I asked if he wanted my clips [to secure the yarmulke],” Jacob recalled.
But the receding-haired cardinal “said he didn’t think he would be needing them.”
Jacob’s dad, Jordan Mann, added, “This is about the most exciting thing to happen in a bar mitzvah in 500 years. I was happy Jacob could have this experience.”
His mother, Alison Feit, joked, “He no longer needs a topic for his college essay.”
Rabbi Shaul Robinson quipped that Jacob and Dolan might meet in the future as world religious leaders – Jacob as chief rabbi of Israel and Dolan as the newest pope.
“Jake has a much better chance of becoming chief rabbi than I do of becoming pope,” Dolan said drolly.
At the end of the ceremony, the cardinal wanted to return Jacob’s yarmulke but was asked instead to take it with him to Rome to vote for a new pope next month.
“I guess it makes me feel kind of important. I think it’s awesome,” said the barmitzvah boy.
“He seems like a really great guy. I knowhe’ll make a great decision. I hope maybe he thinks of me when he’s there and remembers that his decision affects everyone, including Jacob Feit Mann.”