H&M Under Fire, Ridicule for Selling Scarf Eerily Reminiscent of Jewish Prayer Shawl
Swedish international apparel chain H&M received mixed reviews on social media for offering a scarf for purchase that looks like a Jewish prayer shawl, also known as a tallit.
The scarf, which sells on H&M’s website for $17.99 and was first highlighted by fashion blog Racked.com, has the same color scheme and pattern as a tallit. It even has “fringe at the short ends,” as do the traditional prayer shawls.
While some Twitter users marveled at the resemblance between the scarf and a tallit, others were outraged, including one individual who wrote: “I’m not Jewish, but think it’s wrong to use an item of religious dress as a fashion statement.”
A different Twitter user said: “A lot of non Jews are going to be attacked for wearing it. Maybe they’ll understand what we go through.”
Another noted the irony of a Swedish retailer selling a scarf that resembles a tallit because “a Jew cannot walk in Sweden with a tallit (or a kippah) without risking himself.”
Others found the likeness humorous. One commented: “That is awesome. Is there a tekhelet option?” — referring to the blue dye used for some tzitzit (fringe) strings, while another said, “lmaooo that great, I’ll finally be able to daven (pray) fashionably.”
In a statement to The Algemeiner, the Swedish retailer apologized to those insulted by the scarf.
“We are truly sorry if we have offended anyone with this piece,” an H&M spokesperson said. “Everyone is welcome at H&M and we never take a religious or political stand. Stripes is one of the trends for this season and something we were inspired by. Our intention was never to upset anyone.”
H&M is also selling a tallit-like poncho.