Dear Felix Klein,
On December 1, 2012, I put on a kippa. I have worn it ever since, in every day of my life in Munich, Germany and Europe.
Yesterday, May 25th, was the same as its 2,366 predecessors. In that nothing much happened. At least nothing that you consider to be my fate as a kippa-wearer in Germany. I experienced no slurs, certainly no evil glances – no manifestation of anti-Semitism at all.
I did get a few approving remarks, as was to be expected. My kippa – one of the most colorful in my collection – and I were working the stand of the Stolpersteine at huge downtown block party. During my hours there, tens of thousands of people passed me by.
I put on my kippa 2,367 days ago to show myself and my fellow Jews in Germany and elsewhere in the world that they have nothing to be afraid of when they embrace their Judaism joyously and publicly.
I did it to show my mispacha that the time of living in fear and concealment is over, that the era of our being proud and proactive members of a new and diverse Europe has long arrived.
I did it to show us Jews that we have learned the most enduring lesson of the Holocaust – that the most effective way to combat racists and other kinds of haters is by standing up to them, by getting in their faces and showing them that we Jews – and the many other peoples experiencing discrimination – refuse to be victims.
Next time you feel the need to issue a warning about not wearing a kippa in public, might I suggest checking with me – and with the hundreds of other Jews who are devoting themselves to being publicly and fearlessly Jewish?
Even better, why don’t you walk with me as I go about my unexciting days of being a kippa-wearing Jew in Germany? You might learn something – something heartening!
Dr. Felix Klein is the German government’s commissioner on anti-Semitism.