I happened to read this in a recent article in the Jewish Chronicle:

In recent years, as antisemitism has become ever more of a news item… lazy journalists reach for some easy stereotypes of black- hatted and bearded Jews in Stamford Hill to illustrate any news piece about the Jewish community.

This notion might have grown, but it’s not new. It must be over twenty years since my son got separated from his father in a funfair in England. He found himself searching a CCTV screen along with a man who said, “Oh, you come from Israel. So we’re searching for a man with a black hat and a beard.”

Another time, I was sitting in a little tourist train in Bournemouth when I saw two women watching a family whose dress made them stand out. You know, hat, beard, black suit, dress covering knees and elbows, little boys with dreadlocks and tassles. One woman turned to the other and said, “They’re Jews,” and I wanted to say, “We’re not all like that.”

It’s been an awfully long time since I visited Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel-Aviv. The part I remember most about it is the never-ending pictures of Jews flashing past on a screen. And they’re all so different.

That’s all I wanted to say in this post. Jews come in all shapes, sizes, colours and dress.

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I looked up “Jews” in some free image sites, looking for a picture for this post. Guess what I found and why there’s no picture attached to this post.

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We’re remembering one Jew and Israeli who sadly passed away two days ago: the brilliant author, Amos Oz. While not everyone agreed with his views, we all acknowledge and appreciate his love for this country.

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The video of a Jew walking the streets of Paris wearing a kippa (yarmulke) and tzitzit (tassels) has received a lot of publicity. Zvika Klein, the journalist who did this, has been interviewed all over the world. Youtube is full of copies of the short video. Here is one of them:

In this interview, both interviewer and interviewee said they were “shocked at their shockedness,” meaning that they were surprised that people around the world were shocked at what happened to him.

I’m not shocked. I’m not even surprised.

Firstly, I’m not surprised it happened. The fact is, I’ve never felt comfortable as a Jew in Europe, and that goes a long way to explaining why I’m here in Israel. It’s not that I ever went around displaying my Jewishness. Just the fact that I was afraid to say I was Jewish, because I couldn’t know what people would think. Ordinary people – not Muslims. I don’t think I ever met any Muslims while living in England. Anti-semitism has become more visible in recent years, but it was always there.

Secondly, I’m not surprised that people are shocked. I think most people don’t understand what it’s like to live as a Jew in the diaspora, and if this video goes a little way towards explaining, then I’m glad.