For centuries, Jews who sought to keep the mitzvah of tzitzit all day wore an untailored tallit katan garment, which is simply a rectangular fabric cut with an opening in the center for the head and a hole on each corner for the tzitzit strings. Made of either cotton or wool, a tallit katan (or “tallis koton“) is often referred to simply as tzitzit, which can generate a bit of confusion.
Wearing a tallit katan is certainly a privilege, but some Jews found it somewhat unwieldy to wear three layers – undershirt, tallit katan and shirt – every day, fall, winter, spring and summer. Then about twenty years ago the NeaTzit t-shirt tzitzit was invented. The NeaTzit, like today’s PerfTzit, was a cotton garment that was partially closed along the sides (if it’s closed completely there is no mitzvah to wear tzitzit on the garment) and designed to be worn in place of an undershirt. Sometimes called an undershirt tzitzit, the NeaTzit design caught on fast in Israel and around the world.
NeaTzit has gone out of business, but their t-shirt tzitzit innovation is alive and well, whether sold as TrimTzit or PerfTzit or Cotton Comfort. T-shirt tzitzit and undershirt tzitzit designs vary slightly: while the original NeaTzit had snaps along the sides, today the Talitnia version, known outside Israel as PerfTzit, uses stitching and has a crew neck.
Another attribute of PerfTzit and similar shirt tzitzit designs is that they tend to stay in place better than the age-old tallit katan design. This is a big boon for athletes and for parents of little tykes who have slim chance of keeping three layers neatly tucked in all day.
The undershirt tzitzit proved so popular that in recent years several variations have been introduced, including the Sport Tzitzit or Tamir Goodman’s “Sport Strings” and a shirt tzitzit designed to be worn alone, without a shirt on top, known as the TzitzShirt. The TzitzShirt is made of a comfortable cotton-polyester blend and the more expensive Sport Tzitzit is made of a special high-performance polyester-lycra blend designed to wick away moisture and provide a contour fit.
PerfTzit is designed to make wearing tzitzit as comfortable as can be. In summer people opt to wear it instead of an undershirt, eliminating one layer of clothing, and we even have customers who wear them year-round because of the contour fit.
PerfTzit comes standard with thin, machine-spun tzitzit, but we offer upgrades to handspun tzitzit (“avodas yad“) and different tzitzit tying customs, including Sephardic, Yemenite, Chabad and techelet.