03/02/2006 05:13 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Abramoff Headwear Mystery

When I first called attention to the strange hat and coat worn by Jack Abramoff to his first guilty plea, there were three strains of comments. One group of comments simply made fun of Abramoff, my favorite recalling the black clad character in Mad Magazine's Spy v. Spy. Other comments pointed out that Abramoff was involved in some nasty business and suggested that the clothing was protective in nature.

The comments that were the most interesting to me involved the garments as being consistent with Abramoff's orthodox Judaism. There were various theories, with some commenting that pictures of Abramoff without a hat seemed to be taken indoors and maybe he is supposed to wear a hat outside. However, I came across this picture today accompanying a ABC news story.


It was taken on August 18, 2005, obviously outdoors. Like Abramoff's parents, I am a secular Jew and do not understand the ins and outs of observant clothing or, particularly, observant protective clothing. Does anyone else? A perusal of the Internet has not produced anything very helpful. As a refresher, here is the Spy v. Spy picture.


As a humorous aside, Abramoff"s Wikipedia entry says that he "had an early political setback" in 1972 when he was disqualified in a run-off election for President of the Student Council at Hawthorne Elementary School in Beverly Hills for exceeding the spending limit.