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.


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. In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football, reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

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