Photo Credit: Jewish Press

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” Shakespeare famously wrote. A viewing of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London or the gilded colossus on the pate of the new king confirms that the crown is indeed a weighty burden. (The one used for the coronation weighs nearly five pounds!)

Perhaps this is fitting: Leaders should be reminded of their privilege and literally feel the weight of their responsibility, whether it entails actual power or (only) a mandate to exemplify grace and dedication to public service.


In Jewish history, not only kings were crowned but also the kohen gadol, who wore a golden half-crown across his forehead called the tzitz. The tzitz bore the words “Kadosh laShem,” Holy to G-d. This type of crown, a sort of tiara, is known as a nezer and associated with holiness; hence the connection to the word Nazir.

Then there’s the atarah, the style of crown which both encircles and covers the head – refer back to the British monarchical style – and the keter, the open circle which we all wore a cardboard version of one Purim or another, channeling Queen Esther or King Achashverosh. At least those crowns were light on the head!

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Ziona Greenwald, a contributing editor to The Jewish Press, is a freelance writer and editor and the author of two children's books, “Kalman's Big Questions” and “Tzippi Inside/Out.” She lives with her family in Jerusalem.