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How about some Kiddush Hashem

aaron liberman big ten yarmulkeI was just reading an article about the first Big Ten player to wear a yarmulke during a game, I was instantly filled with a sense of pride over what I viewed to be a tremendous kiddush Hashem. Aaron Liberman is following in Tamir Goodman’s footseps. He doesn’t have to wear his religion on his sleeve, it’s not explicit halacha to wear a yarmulke, there are plenty of people who don’t even wear a yarmulke to work (which I’m actually very dismayed by) He chose to identify as an Orthodox Jew in a public setting, he chose to tell the world that one can be a religious fanatic and play competitive basketball.

In my experience, one of the biggest misunderstandings of any religious fundamentalists (face it, being Orthodox Jews lumps us in with Mormons, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc…) is that we aren’t just locked in a room surrounded by holy books and being taught by holy men all day. I think that peoples ideas of Orthodox Jews are skewed by Hollywood and many think that in order to be Orthodox, one must have a beard, hat, and peyos. Almost every time I meet someone who has never met an Orthodox Jew, I get asked the beard and sidelock question, I get asked about the blessing of the meat and they almost always wonder what life without bacon cheeseburgers is like.

In my opinion I think that being a public Orthodox Jew is a good thing. I find myself wearing my yarmulke publicly in all sorts of places, while most of my peers only wear it on shabbos, the rest of the time they don’t wear it or they wear a baseball hat. I grew up in Manhattan and we almost always wore baseball hats, fearing that the general population was antisemitic. Personally, I doubt that, in my experience most people don’t know much about Orthodox Jews, their opinions mostly come from entertainment and any idiot can tell you that a lot of that is based on stereotypes and exaggeration. Whenever I see a fellow yarmulke in the street I jump for joy, I can count the number of times on one hand that I’ve seen one in the Bay Area.

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{ 89 comments… add one }
  • Californian January 6, 2014, 10:09 AM

    I was one of those people you have seen in SF wearing a yarmulke before!

    • Heshy Fried January 6, 2014, 10:19 AM

      I was talking about people, I saw a person in Downtown

      • Alter Cocker January 7, 2014, 12:30 PM

        I don’t understand Heshy’s response. You were talking about people? As opposed to what?

  • heshy the forever monsey boy January 6, 2014, 10:55 AM

    So isn’t that a reason to move? Living in the bay areA dosnt make you a cooler person and I know its hard for you to accept that…

    • Anonymous January 6, 2014, 11:10 AM


    • Heshy Fried January 6, 2014, 11:13 AM

      Oh I never said I was cooler and I only lived in Monsey for 7 months.

  • Talia bat Pessi January 6, 2014, 12:44 PM

    “many think that in order to be Orthodox, one must have a beard, hat, and peyos.”

    That’s a little male-centric.

    • zach January 6, 2014, 2:51 PM

      Because only males should be seen in public.

      • Alter Cocker January 7, 2014, 12:30 PM

        Good point.

    • Reason January 7, 2014, 2:31 PM

      That’s because the Torah assigns women the status of minors, cattle and slaves

  • Dani K January 6, 2014, 2:14 PM

    Heshy … being a public Orthodox Jew is only a kiddush Hashem if you act like a mentsch. Otherwise … well … there may be hit men out to get you.

  • Yochanan January 6, 2014, 2:18 PM

    There are still Orthodox Jews that don’t wear Kippot at work?

    • Shragi January 6, 2014, 3:00 PM

      Sure – outside of Jew York.

      • Fanfare Ends January 7, 2014, 1:29 AM

        There’s plenty of orthodox in NYC who don’t wear their kipah at work.

        I stopped wearing mine at work because of the aggravation I got from NON-RELIGIOUS JINOS, especially the ones with the pictures of themselves with the Clintons on their office walls.

        Then I stopped wearing it on the street or without a ball cap over it because too many New Yorkers think it’s WONDERFUL that we have imported SO MANY MUSLIMS who want to take a swing at a yid with a lid.

        (What exactly did you think the guy behind the counter was saying when he muttered ” “Itbah al-Yahud” as he gave you your change?).

        Which brings me to the last, for the author:

        “In my experience, one of the biggest misunderstandings of any religious fundamentalists (face it, being Orthodox Jews lumps us in with Mormons, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc) i”

        Please don’t lump us in with muslims; except for Eichmann we have not had the death penalty legitimized within Yiddishkeit (well, maybe for mesirah) for approximately 2 millennia.

        For the past 1300+ years islam has and still does justify murder and beheading against all non-muslims who will not convert or submit.

        And please don’t tell me those are “extremists” – THATS ISLAM, we should not be lumped in with them.

        • SDK January 16, 2014, 7:38 AM

          No, no. We just spit at little girls and throw chairs at women. We don’t have any rules about how women should dress in public and a Jew would never (ever) do something like kill the prime minister of his country for religious reasons.

          Nor does our religion tell us to treat Jews differently from non-Jews or to give them fewer rights or anything. We would never … set fire to someone’s olive grove or rip off someone’s headscarf or kill a group of people praying at a holy site due to a religious belief that those people have no rights. Certainly, if some crazy person did kill a group of people praying at a holy site, we would never (ever) pray at that person’s grave.

          You’re right. Judaism and Islam have *nothing* in common!

          Our religion is practically humanist in its support for equality among all people, it’s brotherly love between Jew and Jew and it’s unwavering commitment to women’s rights.

          Islam, l’havdil, still holds onto barbaric, traditional, ideas from the Middle Ages — and *earlier*.

      • Alter Cocker January 7, 2014, 12:31 PM

        Not Jew York. Jew Nersey!

    • Anonymous January 7, 2014, 2:32 PM

      I was one, in NYC, until I went OTD

  • Shragi January 6, 2014, 2:56 PM

    I used to go motorcycle riding in eastern Ohio and Pennsylvania, and the frum people I’d ride with always wore baseball caps or no headcovering during stops. I always wore my yarmulke, I didn’t get the fear.

  • A. Nuran January 6, 2014, 3:43 PM

    Good for him!

  • Jonathan January 7, 2014, 9:42 AM

    As a consultant, every engagement starts with the decision to wear or not to wear my kippah. It’s pretty easy to figure out not to wear it when doing a strategic plan for a church or Christian charity. The question is how much of a distraction is it going to be. The work is more important than a circle of cloth or leather.

    As for on the streets, wearing a baseball cap everywhere I go is more about having terrible personal grooming habits than about obscuring my religious leanings.

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