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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Look me in the eye

I was having a conversation with a friend who works in a public school but wears his Yarmulke. He was dismayed by the many negative comments it generated. Knowing him personally, I have no doubt that this is more of a statement about the people making the comments than his behavior.

It made me think of something. Sometimes, being a Jew who wears a Yarmulke to work is like being a woman with a nice rack. You like to think that people are listening to you, respect you, and have confidence in your ability as a professional.

But really all they see is the Yarmulke.

1 comment:

PsychoToddler said...

If your friend worked in NY he'd need
a team of body guards.
Jewish Blogmiester | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 2:45 pm | #

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That's weird. I attended public schools in Brooklyn, and had a number of teachers with the yarmulke on. Nobody ever said anthing or even looked at them strangely.
Irina | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 3:33 pm | #

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Nice way to put things. But true.
texasmensch | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 3:38 pm | #

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Irena,
In parts of the world that aren't near NYC, a kipah wearer is a rare sight.
velvel | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 4:08 pm | #

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If OJs constitute a certain percentage of workers, it's not much of an issue. In NY, during medical school, there were many of us running around the wards with yarmulkes. No big deal.

Here in Wisconsin, I'm the only one. People assume I'm a rabbi.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 4:16 pm | #

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not fair noones ever gropped my koppel
AMSHINOVER | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 4:51 pm | #

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I'm still surprised by this. Of course around these parts, the only ones I see wearing their yarmulke's are Kaiser's pediatrician and my doctor. No one seems to frown upon it.
Wickwire | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 5:36 pm | #

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Make that reason 472 not to wear one. (Reason 471 was the previous post on religious Jews who wear the trappings of religious observance publicly misbehaving.) I don't wear a kippa to work. I've heard patients refer to other doctors as "the guy with the kippah". Even when it's not disparaging (and it sometimes is) it's definitely the first and frequently last thing that's noticed.

The best reason TO wear one: when behaving in an exemplary fasion, it makes Jews look good. That's way too much pressure, and the reasons against are too many and too good.

Sorry to be a heretic on this thread...
Doctor Bean | Homepage | 04.12.05 - 10:09 pm | #

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I grew up in an area where very few people wear kippot, and where the local populace isn't so pro-Jewish. You get comments ranging from the "let me see your horns" and the old classic pretend sneeze "a-jew" (to which I would respond the pretend sneeze "a-goy" which they wouldn't get but I would), to the being chased, having money thrown at you and all sorts of other pleasantries. Anyone who wears one and is a positive role model is a phenomenal force of good in todays world.

TRK
The Rabbi's Kid | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 8:50 am | #

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Bean:

I've made my bed. I might as well sleep in it. Training in NY did not prepare me for the level of discrimination I would encounter in the Midwest. It never dawned upon me to take off my kippah for interviews or at work.

I know that my life would probably have been easier if I had gone your route. There are times now when I would like to take it off--say when I'm on call on Shabbos and have to drive to the hospital. But everybody knows me already and taking it off would make no sense.

I have encounted the "guy with the beanie" line on many occasions. Usually it's coupled with a compliment.

Wickwire:

Where do you live that has Orthodox doctors?
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 10:27 am | #

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Personally, I think it's a good idea for Jews to wear one as a way of expressing political identity. As in, I'm Jewish and I'm proud of it. I don't think ANYONE should feel intimidated because of that... U.S. is supposed to be different from France and other nice places of that sort.
Irina | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 11:17 am | #

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I'm just outside of Seattle, WA
Wickwire | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 11:53 am | #

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PT what does Rose say about this,I'd love to hear.
AMSHINOVER | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 12:18 pm | #

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The fact that you force yourself to behave well when you're wearing one, is a great reason to wear one.
velvel | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 12:19 pm | #

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true words velvel, and PT, that is by far the most interesting comparison yet. Nice post
Chaim | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 12:25 pm | #

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Rose says why don't you move back to New York.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 12:41 pm | #

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In this day and age where some public schools have metal detectors and can understand why a person would not want to be sporting a Kipa in the public school system. I guess it simply depends where you are working, the atmoshphere etc. I personally would feel really wierd not wearing one (besides it hides my bald spot!)
but that's just me.
Jewish Blogmiester | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 3:14 pm | #

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Do you have to get a kipah lift if they sag?
Anne | Homepage | 04.13.05 - 11:28 pm | #

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No, but I hear that size matters.
psychotoddler | Homepage | 04.14.05 - 9:36 am | #

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I'm female, white, and wear dreadlocks, which I often put up in a wrap.

The number of people who have yelled at me to "go home" -- no, I don't get it either -- makes me think they really do turn off their brain at the sight of the headwear, and this confirms it. People are dumb.
parcequilfaut | Homepage | 04.14.05 - 8:17 pm | #

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