Berlin’s Jewish Community Seeks Allies in Fight Against Surging Anti-Semitism

A man shows a kippa during the 'Berlin wears kippa' event, with more than 2,000 Jews and non-Jews wearing the traditional skullcap to show solidarity with Jews on April 25, 2018 in Berlin after Germany has been rocked by a series of anti-Semitic incidents. - Germans stage shows of solidarity …
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty

Berliners will today be encouraged to wear one of 10,000 free kippahs being distributed in the city’s parks as a show of solidarity for Germany’s increasingly threatened Jewish population.

The move comes as a newly appointed special envoy tasked by the German government with tackling the country’s rising wave of anti-Semitism said he is not surprised so many Jews feel threatened and plan to leave Germany.

Sunday’s distribution of free Jewish kippahs will be coordinated by groups of Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers. The event is a follow-up to Wednesday’s national rallies that also saw people wear the skullcap as a sign of support for Jews.

The day of solidarity is called “#kippaheadsup.” It is designed to allow anybody to wear a kippah and experience the sense of isolation and threat that Germany’s Jews are increasingly being called upon to endure.

“Yesterday we wore a kippah, but in a safe space,” one of the event’s organizers told the Times of Israel after Wednesday’s rallies. “A lot of people don’t have any markers that marginalize them and maybe they can get more sensitive to that.”

Sunday’s event is strictly non-political, a choice made by organizers who want to keep their actions separate from the maintstream parties.

An organizer said, “We’re trying not to put a stamp of political parties on it. We don’t want talking heads, we don’t want politicians to use it. We’re just citizens of Berlin who felt the need to do something.”

Around 200,000 Jews are estimated to to be living in Germany, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union. That’s fewer than half of the 500,000 Jews who lived in the country before the Holocaust.

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