Why I Decided To Start Wearing A Kippah

Ryan-BelleroseFirst off, don’t get all excited, I am not converting to Judaism, I have two serious issues that I couldn’t find a halachic solution for:

  1. I believe in Jesus and
  2. I really like cheeseburgers.

Pretty much everything else, I could easily get behind, except maybe no internet on Saturday, I don’t know how I would deal with that. So although I respect and have a genuine affection for my Jewish friends, I am not joining them at shul any time soon.

Last week I organised a pro-Israel rally. I did it because watching a video of my friends being attacked and then seeing them demonized in the media afterwards, made me realize how fragile some of our freedoms in Canada really are. I am not a talker although I can talk. I am more of a doer, and when I see something I don’t like, I work to change it.

I grew up in Northern Alberta, where racism is pretty ingrained. In fact, my own grandfather on my mother’s side was more than a little bit racist against Natives (which was funny because all of his daughters married Native men and had Native kids.) One time he accused me of stealing the radio knobs off his 1977 T-Bird with the phrase “ I know Indian kids steal.” At the time, I laughed and so did my cousins, but it’s only recently I recall with some animosity that it made no sense for me to steal his stupid radio knobs. I didn’t even have a car! I have seen and dealt with overt and hidden racism for much of my adult life as well. Maybe thats why this week I finally had enough.

I have started to understand that certain kinds of hate are “acceptable” while others are taboo. On a Facebook group dedicated to “peaceful rallies” I had some moronic young woman tell me “ The Jews are the bad guys, they control the banks and the media and the Arabs don’t even have tanks or planes.” I thought at first I was watching a bad YouTube video. These are the things I see on Facebook, statements so abjectly stupid that I am often at a loss to respond. I am always shocked that nobody else says “ That’s just stupid, stop spreading idiocy.”

I have written about moral equivalence, about how it’s not the same to respond to a random attack with a precision attack, and that casualties incurred on either are still not on the same moral level. I don’t know how to be more clear that when one side says it wants to commit genocide, then constantly attempts to kill civilians, it is simply not the same as when one side doing more than any army in history to prevent civilians dying, kills some as collateral damage. Both are tragedies when people die, but one is simply more morally culpable than the other. But for some reason, when you add Jews to the equation, people lose their damn minds. “OMG the Jooos actually hit back, OMG OMG OMG.” 200 people killed in Iraq, nobody cares, 195 killed in Syria, nope, don’t give a crap. Why? I will give you a hint, it rhymes with “ Jews didn’t do it.”

Somehow this has escaped the logic center of several peoples’ brains, so instead of condemning the right people, the people actually responsible for this war, they condemn Israel because supposedly Israel is the more powerful one. Now I want you to do an experiment: walk up to the largest person you see, threaten them several times and then punch them as hard as you can. If they look at you with incredulity and do not punch you back, I want you to punch them again. Now if they still don’t punch back I want you to taunt them then punch them again. Now WHEN they punch you I want you to run and complain to the police and see what they tell you.

Welcome to being Israel, not much fun is it?

After watching Jewish people being taunted, being told to go home, being attacked simply for being Jewish, and after seeing Jewish people sucker punched while walking down the street, I decided I am not just going to write some articles or attend a couple rallies. I am in fact going to wear a kippah, a “Jew hat,”which basically identifies observant Jewish men. Not because I want to appropriate their culture (enough people already do that), and not to offend them, but because I have a deep respect for their traditions and want to show solidarity. And in all honesty, because I doubt too many of the asshats will have the testicular fortitude to walk up to me and say something to my chest. I am not actually Jewish, but the asshats won’t know that. All they will see is a rather large man with an unpleasant expression wearing a kippah so either they will walk away or they will say something. If they say something to me, I think they will learn quickly that Mervin Belleroses favorite saying “ Common courtesy is better than a broken fucking nose” is a truism. Because frankly at this point, I am no longer as patient as I once was.

After making the decision today and speaking to a friend about getting a kippah (which isn’t easy when your head is size XXL 8 and ¾ inches by the way), something reinforced what I am going to do. I was actually yelled at while walking home. I was wearing an IDF shirt and an Israeli keffiyeh and some asshat yelled “Genocider, Jew baby-killer.” Of course, when I turned back to cross the street, he quickly decided discretion was the better part of valor.

I am not a hero for doing this. I’m nothing like the king of Denmark. I’m simply a man who doesn’t like bullies and is tired of people coming to my country and bringing their bigotry with them. I think someone will be in for a rude surprise.

And that’s why I decided to wear a kippah.

About Ryan Bellerose

A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. Ryan was unsure if his real name was "Go get water!" or "Go get wood!" In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football , reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

3 incoming links

A Different Minority Report on Israel | Cross-Currents
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Ryan Bellerose:Jarmułka i dupki. | NOWY EKRAN
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Facebook Comments

  • Zaba

    Kol HaKavod Ryan!!

  • theotencase

    And HaShem will bless you and keep you for you are blessing His people.

  • walt kovacs

    kol hakavod

    as for the internets thing….trust me, taking one day off is good for one’s spiritual and mental health

    and i shall daven that you stay safe

  • frauss

    You have a lot of guts and we need all the help we can get against this anti-semitic tsunami. One fine point. Keffiyas aren’t Israeli. They are Arab. So you are sending out mixed signals to the cognoscenti. For unadulterated pure, lose the scarf. Good luck on your Via Dolorosa. If you get tired of the hate, come visit us in Israel. You will likely feel safer and more at home.

  • George

    Good on you my brother. I don’t know you and I live on the other side of the world to you in Melbourne Australia, but as a Jew who is quickly losing faith in humanity by the degree of overt “Anti-Semitism” that it appears is now OK to shout at any rally anywhere in the world under the premise of “Free Palestine” or whatever, it is reassuring to know that there are still good people out there who see the truth and are not scared to stand up for what is true and right. Be safe and be well – George

  • Paul Dogon

    Righteous dude

  • Norman_In_New_York

    I stand in awe.

  • Art Deco
  • Lisa Port Weiss

    You are what the world needs more of, not heroes, not politicians, but A LOGICAL, RATIONAL HUMAN BEING WHO VALUES ALL LIFE, NOT JUST SOMEONE “LIKE” THEM.

    Thank you,

  • Mindy

    wow! you are definitely an inspiration and we are honoured to have you stand up with us!

  • Jean-Claude Klein

    May God have many more Ryans in the world. God bless you.

  • http://www.residentialmarketingblog.com/ Daniel R. Levitan

    God bless!

  • ShermCraig

    Ryan IS A HERO – despite his claims otherwise.

  • yitzhakbg

    Thanks (from Beit El, Israel) for the support. We need more people like you

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  • Frits

    A Hero. Good on you. There should be more of you.

  • CableLegend

    I’m not Jewish but I can’t help but support the hell out Israel. The way the media is portraying current events is just maddening & the microscope under which they examine every move of the IDF in the midst of a war is just absurd. It’s interviews like this one today w/ Andrea Mitchell that just puts me over the top.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-andrea-mitchell-to-israeli-amb-is-israel-losing-its-soul-in-gaza/

  • Dan Neduva

    Hi Ryan my name is Dan. I am an Israeli/American who is currently living in Israel and came on my own to live here and serve my country. I am currently in the IDF reserves. I have also made gout since my mom is not Jewish. I was very touched by your post and am glad that there are people like you in this world who actually think for themselves and take the liberty to do something. May you continue to support us in our fight. You are the man!

    • Ryan Bellerose

      if you served in the idf protecting your people then YOU are the man. Respect!

  • Dan Neduva

    Giur*

  • ToughJuice

    Respect Brother and thank you! Just today it crossed my mind that though I’m not the least bit religious, culturally Jewish yes, but I never considered wearing a kippah or hanging an Israeli flag until now. I’m not sure about the flag given the political implications though I do support Israel (now more than ever) and the rising tide of antisemitism is just another reminder of how much people like me need Israel. I am Egyptian and Syrian, I have always lived in America and I have never been to Israel yet now as secular as I proudly am (I make up for it with community activity and support) I’m inclined to exercise my freedom of religion, my freedom of speech and god bless America my right to bear arms too. I think I will start wearing myself and lord have mercy on any bullies who take me for a religious person or a pacifist that will be their problem not mine.

  • Sam

    Thank you. Thank you for standing up for the Jewish people. Its not often that a bystander has the courage to do so – and for that I say thank you. Kol HaKavod from Melbourne Australia!

  • Alicia Moritz

    I am not here to criticize your view or even change it but in regards exclusively to your bully example he is another view point. (BTW I am not anti-Israel or anti-Arab. I AM pro truth which is very hard to determine in this situation…. I try to read view points from both sides to get a better understanding but MOST if not ALL articles are blatant propaganda….. To personalize this for a moment, imagine a bully sitting on a smaller child, and every time someone objects to the fact that the bully is beating the smaller child with an iron rod, the bully exclaims, “Well, he tried to slap me, so I was forced to defend myself.” No, you can’t claim that you’re beating the smaller child with an iron rod in self-defense, especially when you can end the entire confrontation simply by getting off him. Back to the political reality, Norman Finkelsteinput it best: “The refrain that Israel has the right to self-defense is a red herring: the real question is, does Israel have the right to use force to maintain an illegal occupation? The answer is no.”…. just view from the other side…

    • Ryan Bellerose

      Norman finklestein is a moron, and your example is ridiculous. you lost any credibility when you quoted him.

      first off, Israel is not occupying anything other than JEWISH ANCESTRAL LANDS. when Israel occupies more than 1% of the land mass of the middle east your argument will have some validity. I get tired of people making these stupid and invalid comparisons, its ignorant.

      its more like a toddler keeps trying to stab his olderbrother and then runs to mother when the older brother beats him up.

      I am tired of people trying to give me a view “from the other side.” I didnt want to see the other side in ww2, I dont care what the other side “felt” during the Metis rebellion, and im not overly concerned with them here. I have studied this conflict in great detail.

    • rosa b

      i appreciate “your” truth as not being anti israel nor anti arab. what you have not yet realized is you are ill informed of the history of the so called occupation. maybe you can try google for dummies to begin your search.

    • Trish94903

      >>”every time someone objects to the fact that the bully is beating the smaller child with an iron rod,…” Would you care to comment on the fact that Hamas has fired thousands of missiles at Israel, unprovoked? And that Israel repeatedly said it would meet “quiet with quiet” in an effort to de-escalate conflict before going on a war operation? Or that Hamas rejected or broke all ceasefire proposals? Perhaps you’d care to comment on Hamas’s governing policy as expressed in its Charter which calls for the genocide of Jews, which it pursues through actively indoctrinating its children in racism and war? Maybe you could address the chronic poverty and unemployment in Gaza resulting from Hamas’s seizure of concrete for building tunnels and bunkers (instead of homes and hospitals and schools), and its seizure of food and luxury good with which to feed and reward its own apparatchiks? Gaza may be smaller in total area than Israel, but that doesn’t mean that when a madman comes after you with a gun screaming he’s going to kill you, you can’t resort to deadly force to stop him.

      • Alicia Moritz

        Sure Trisha I would be happy to address each one if those issues. First Hamas uses rockets not missiles (huge difference look it up). It’s like a plastic water pistol vs a firehose. Secondly it’s not for no reason Israel is out of land and keeps building on Palestinian land. They are occupying territory that does not belong to them. Hamas never agreed to that first ceasefire, they didn’t even know about it. It was used as propaganda to show they were not cooperating. With that being said Hamad is a horrible terrible terrorist group that must be stopped or eliminated, I am sure we can agree on that. If there was a home with a family in it that criminals were hiding in that was holding the family hostage would we just blow up the house? No we would do everything we could to take out the criminals without hurting the hostages. The Palestinians are hostages. They are being forced to stay and are being used as human Sheild by Hamas. Hamas being a business is broke. They are using this conflict to gain sympathy and raise capital. Innocent people are being killed to raise funds for Hamas. That is their propaganda and it’s disgusting. The innocent people are of Palestine, there are not synonymous with Hamas. Israel has destroyed the infrastructure of Gaza which is a disaster in it self. No power for hospitals, no water for barthrooms… Do you have any idea what diseases come from dead bodies and unsanitary living conditions. Israel should he thinking about that as well since they are so close and want that land anyway. I am not saying that Israel should not defend themselves they should but at what cost? They can not cry self defense in this case and then absolve themselves from the responsibility of the innocent casualties in the name of religion especially when it’s about land.

        • Alexi

          It’s like a plastic water pistol vs a firehose. No that is a LIE.

          The difference is like getting run over by a car vs. a truck. You are roadkill either way. Terror is terror. And DEAD is most definitely DEAD.

        • Jack Wilson

          The Palestinians elect Hamas to lead them again and again. Either they are fully supportive of Hamas’ goals, and share their guilt, or they are the stupidest electorate I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

  • Susie Baumohl

    I am echoing everyone’s sentiments here – thank you for your support. I was going to offer to make you a kippah, but I see you have plenty of those offers. If you ever find yourself in NYC, please let me know and I would love to host you for Friday night (Shabbat) dinner. Thank you!

  • Esther

    Yes you ARE a hero, Ryan. You’re standing by my people and there’s nothing in it for you, other than the knowledge that you’ve chosen a highly principled path. You’re a rare treasure. I’m very moved. Thank you.

    • Ryan Bellerose

      There is something in it for me, I have jewish friends and I know they would stand up for me if the roles were reversed, and I do not doubt that for a second.

      • Esther

        I feel very happy to know there are people like you.

  • Peru

    Good for you ! well done.

  • Rabbi Ruth Adar

    Bless you. I’d be happy to send you a whole rainbow of kippot!

  • i’m from missouri

    Ryan – Canada should be recognizing your bravery and your moral compass; when all others have lost theirs, you would be considered a ‘righteous Gentile’, in the most appreciative and loving terms. I wish you strength and courage when you are out and about. Being first Nations and choosing to identify with the Jews, brings you a double whammy! Go, Ryan, head up high, and know that this Jewish lady, loves you and your courage. Thank you.

  • Lals26

    Ryan, as an Israeli-British Jew, I am genuinely touched by your gesture. It takes real guts to do this!! If you ever need a place to stay in London, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You will be warmly welcomed by me and my family.

  • Sarah Yette Karpeles

    wow Thank you so much. You are making a difference.
    Sarah

  • Sara

    I live in Israel, and it is SO heartening to read that there are people out there who have not gone completely mad and perceive reality in a logical way (thank you, for example, for explaining why the fact that there are so many more civilian casualties in Gaza does not mean that Israel are the baddies – quite the opposite)! People like you bring light to the world. God bless you, tzaddik!!!!

  • Charles Meir Markovits

    Can’t think of a more appropriate idiom than “Hats off to you,” Ryan. Very well written article that exudes a most noble sentiment.
    May G-d bless you and all your kindred spirits!

  • Nortal

    Ha-ha, I love it! Well done, my friend! Give the bullies a taste of their own medicine.

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  • Toby Curwin

    You are completely awesome, thank you so much for your very heartwarming support! If you ever find yourself on this side of the ocean and would like a place to stay in our beautiful rolling hills of Judea, Israel, we would be honored to have you :)

  • Jon Lome

    Excellent Post, and I wish more people’s brains worked the way yours does. If Hamas fired one rocket at the US, how do you think we would respond? After all, terrorist flew planes into our buildings and we brought over a million troops to the WRONG country to instill a government on it’s people (sounds like a terrorist act in itself, doesn’t it?) Yet, when Israel naturally defends themselves, the whole world goes crazy. Hamas fires rockets from civilian communities, hospitals, schools, etc, on purpose… this way when Israel retaliates, civilians are wounded…. that’s Hamas fault (on purpose nonetheless) not Israels. Again, great post… very refreshing to read something posted by someone who gets it.

  • Marilyn Sandperl

    Ryan…you are my new hero! I really appreciate your bravery and moral clarity. And cheeseburgers or not…you are an honorary member of “the tribe!”

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  • Wolfgang

    Hello ,I agree with Ryan , I am Australian living in NZ, I belong to a small group of Christians here in Auckland that meet and give home stay to Jews who come to visit, I personally do this for several reasons, I cannot be a believer in Jesus Christ without acknowledging that Jesus was Jewish and if it was not for the lineage of Jesus giving the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles then I would not be here today, if I say I hate the Jews sort of real authentic bible believer would that make me ? I think that would make me a real hypocrite ( and I really detest hypocrites ). To me I see that without the Jews as a race of people , the world would truly be a poorer place, I had the opportunity to work in aged care for a Jewish nursing home looking after the elderly, the jewish people for the most part were without doubt the most generous and kindest people I met and worked with. By the way I am 6’3″ and 260 pounds and I will happily defend myself against any bigots or bullies, I support Israel 100 percent and any Jew of whatever belief is always welcome under my roof. To any Jews out there I got ya back !.

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