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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Kittle \Kit"tle\, v. t. [Cf. AS. citelian; akin to D. kittelen, G. kitzeln, Icel. kitla, Sw. kittla, kittsla, Dan. kildre. Cf. Tickle.] To tickle. [Prov. Eng. & Scot.] [Written also kittel.]


right|180px A kittel, also spelled kitl, (, robe, coat, cf. German Kittel ‘[house/work] coat’) is a white linen robe which serves as a burial shroud for male Jews. It is also worn on special occasions by Ashkenazi Jews. In western Europe this garment is called a Sargenes. The word Sargenes is related to the Old French Serge as well as Latin Serica. The term has mainly fallen out of use in modern times, except in certain neighborhoods such as Washington Heights in New York City.

As a burial shroud, the kittel provides a simple attire that assures equality for all in death. Because Jewish law dictates that the dead are buried without anything else in the coffin other than simple linen clothes, a kittel has no pockets.

It is also worn by married men on Yom Kippur and in some instances on Rosh Hashanah. The wearing of a kittel on the High Holidays is symbolically linked to its use as a burial shroud, and, to the verse "our sins shall be made as white as snow" .

Many Jews also wear a kittel when leading the Passover Seder. In some communities, the cantor wears it during certain special services during the year, such as the first night of Selichot, the seventh day of the Holiday of Sukkot (also known as Hoshanah Rabbah), the Musaf prayers of Shemini Atzeret and the first day of Passover, where the prayers for rain (Tefilat HaGeshem) and dew (Tefilat HaTal) are respectively recited. According to many traditions a bridegroom wears a kittel on his wedding day.

The white color is said to symbolize purity, which partly explains its use during weddings. It is also felt to signify unity with the bride (who also wears white) and the beginning of a new life together. Another reason worn at the wedding is because it has no pockets, showing that the couple is marrying for love, not for what they possess.

Kittel (surname)

Kittel is a surname and given name. Notable people with the name include:

  • Kittel Halvorson (1846 - 1936), an U.S. Representative from Minnesota
  • Bertold Kittel (pl)
  • Bruno Kittel (1870-1948), German violinist and conductor
  • Caspar Kittel (1603–1639), also Kaspar Kittel, a German composer (de)
  • Charles Kittel (born 1916), American physicist
  • Elżbieta Zawadowska-Kittel (pl)
  • Emílie "Emmy (Ema)" (Pavlína Věnceslava) Kittel (Kittlová), later Destinn(ová) (1878, Prague - 1930), Czech operatic soprano
  • Eugen Kittel (1859, Eningen unter Achalm bei Reutlingen - 1946), German engineer (de)
  • Ferdinand Kittel (1832, Resterhafe - 1903), German priest, missionary and indologist
  • August Wilson (born Frederick August Kittel)
  • Heinrich Kittel (1892, Gerolzhofen - 1969), German officer (de)
  • Helmuth Kittel (1902, Potsdam - 1984), German theologian (de)
  • Hermine Kittel (1879 - 1948), Austrian singer
  • Johann Kittel (; 1519 - 1590), theologian and educator
  • Johann Caspar Kittel (~1650 - 1712/1720), glass maker
  • Johann Christian Kittel (1732, Erfurt - 1809), German composer
  • Johann Josef (Antonius Eleazar) Kittel (; 1703, Nabsel/ Bzí - 1783, Schumburg/Krásná, nearby Pintschei/Pěnčín), Bohemian doctor (de)
  • Johann Joseph Kittel (1723 - 1788), glass maker
  • Kaspar Kittel, the composer also known as Caspar Kittel (see above)
  • Marcel Kittel (born 1988, Arnstadt), German cyclist (de)
  • Marlon Kittel (born 1983, Essen), German actor
  • Martin Baldwin Kittel (1796, Aschaffenburg - 1885)
  • Nicolaus Kittel (1830s - 1870), German-Russian bow maker
  • Otto Kittel (1917, Krasov, Austrian Silesia - 1945), Silesian-German World War II pilot
  • Rudolf Kittel (1853 - 1929), German Old Testament scholar
    • Gerhard Kittel (1888 - 1948), German Protestant theologian
    • Rudolf Kittel's Biblia Hebraica (BHK)
  • Jan Bedřich Kittl/ Johann Friedrich Kittl (de), (cz)
  • Walter Kittel (de)
  • Zygmunt Kittel (pl)

Usage examples of "kittel".

The seven-member chapter headed by Kittel includes Angels from the Mid-State chapter.

The rabbi hung up his topcoat and hat and put on his skullcap and the white robe which was the conservative compromise on the orthodox kittel or grave vestment.

Dick Preston, Doug Cunningham, Dan Bremer, Tom Scott, Bob Collins, Jan Kittel, Ralph Arellano, Bobby Crim and his sons, and many, many others, including my sister Anne, who went with me on our first antiwar demonstration to Washington, D.