By Dr Michael Sinclair
As times for Jews in this country get tougher, many of our brothers seem to reach for their baseball caps. That’s caps; not bats.
You must have noticed it. Shabbat morning, suited Jewish men stride purposefully to synagogue incongruously sporting baseball caps on their heads.
Do they really think that the average violent anti-Semite is going to be fooled?
We all know what’s going on. But does this quirky phenomenon make us proud? Is it a reflection of a self-confident, assertive British Jewish community?
Seven years ago I wrote an article for the Jewish News questioning whether we Jews (particularly our grandchildren) had a future in this country. This country that I love and admire. I suggested some things we ought to do, “just in case”.
Nothing happened. Other, of course, than a handful of our self-appointed communal “leaders” calling me a fool. I wonder what they think now? Sheltering under their virtual baseball caps.
So, now I propose another suggestion. Let’s pick a week, any week will do, when every single Jewish man and boy in the UK wears a yarmulke. And every single Jewish woman and girl wears a Magen David.
Because the best way to defeat our enemies is to become more Jewish – not hide our religion under a Red Sox cap.
And we have to intensify our Jewishness in the street as well as in our homes. There are many reasons for doing this, but one in particular is worth stating.
Almost 70% of our children are in full time Jewish education. This is an outstanding communal achievement. But for our kids, is it an outstanding experience?
Guards at the school gates? Metal detectors at the doors? Razor wire on the walls? CCTV everywhere?
We are breeding a generation of fearful Jews. If we carry on like this, in 20 years time they will all be wearing baseball caps to shul.
And when they go to university, will they proudly exhibit their Judaism? Will they proudly support Israel? Will they demonstrate against injustice to Jews and Israel? Will they support Jewish welfare charities? Or will they just walk away.
So let’s do something to reverse this worrying trend.
Chief Rabbi; President of the Board of Deputies; communal rabbis. It’s time to pick a date for… Jewish Pride Week!