‘Movember’ Is Upon Us

If you take a look around you, you will likely notice the fine “lip sweaters” sprouting on the facial fringes of your colleagues – this can mean only one thing…

“Movember” is upon us.

For years I wondered at this strange phenomenon, dismissing it as yet another opportunity for people to celebrate otherwise unorthodox forms of public expression, much like the phenomenon of dressing up on Halloween or Purim – or, as we say in Hebrew: “Siba LeMesiba.”

Outwardly I made fun of my friends who chose to grow their “lip foliage”; secretly however, I longed to join them.

Finally, a number of years ago, I decided to take the jump, but my timing was bad – I was a soldier, well into my service. While the IDF’s bylaws prohibit growing facial hair except certain exceptions, I found a loophole allowing any soldier to sport a moustache, reflecting the popular practice characteristic of the IDF’s early days, when mustaches were commonplace among Palmachnikim of the times. However, my commander wouldn’t hear of it – he said: if you want to grow a mustache, it’s going to have to be permanent; you can’t just grow one for a month.

After that the novelty passed and I forgot about my desire to “Movember it”. Then, last year, my Movember fetish was rekindled when for the first time I finally understood the rationale behind the Movember ritual, thanks to an article written on the Times of Israel by a friend of mine, Yoni Zierler. Now, it wasn’t just fun, it had a meaning.

So, what’s it all about anyway?

First introduced in 2002 by the Movember Foundation, Movember is an annual, month-long event whereupon men pledge to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other male cancers. Traditionally, moustache-sporting participants set up a profile on one of several sites, in order to raise money for the Foundation.

And so, last year, after reading Yoni’s article, I decided that this time I was finally going to do it – yet once again, my timing was off. This time it wasn’t my commander who vetoed my bold attempt to sprout face fungus – it was my wife. She was very nice about it. She made it simple. “You have a choice”, she said: “it’s either me or the moustache”. Needless to say, I chose the former.

But that isn’t going to stop me.

Who said you need to actually grow your moustache?

Most hardcore Mo bro’s will probably feel cheated and betrayed when they see this but I am determined to participate in this year’s Movember, if not outwardly in person, at least in the virtual corridors of social media. And so, thanks to a fantastic website I stumbled upon,, I managed to grow an artificial lip-sweater to keep me warm over Hanukah.

my "virtual" mo, thanks to
My “virtual” Mo, thanks to

Research has shown that 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This is a terrifying statistic.

Check out my profile on and make a donation today.

Your donation will support world-class men’s health programs, such as the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), that combat prostate and testicular cancer. These programs are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, and research.

About the Author
Yitz Hammer lives with his wife and two children in Netanya; He made aliyah from the U.S. in 2000, studied in Otniel Hesder Yeshiva and served in the Combat Engineering Corps; Yitzy is currently studying towards an LL.B. in Law and a B.A. in Government at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliah, where he works as a research assistant in the subject of Jewish Law; Yitz's interests include photography, history, international law, music and writing. Most recently, Yitzy has joined the ranks of StandWithUs, the pro-Israel education and advocacy organization, as a participant in their Israel Fellowship.