Today I went to the stone-setting ceremony for the mother of an old Jewish friend of mine, so of course I had to wear a… what do you call them? Non-Jews call them skull-caps, but no Jew calls them that. The Hebrew word is kippah, but it’s pronounced couple – at least it’s pronounced that way by all the East London Jews I know, but I think that may be just a regional pronunciation. I don’t know if there is a more generally accepted way of saying it. The Yiddish word is yarmulke: but does anyone say that anymore?
I was chatting about this with a friend at the cemetery, and he brought up the fact that there’s no agreed term for the Jewish place of worship, either. There is synagogue, a word of Greek origin, but that’s not much used by Jews themselves. They’d use that term if they were just talking about the building in a general way; but to refer to a place to go to as worshippers, English Jews say shul, which is Yiddish (from the German for school), while American Jews say temple (or they do on Seinfeld, anyway). And in fact temple is the word used in English translations of the Bible, so maybe that’s the most universal term.