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That's a long title. It's more of a thesis in question form. Along with the long title, I will make it a very long article.
Being Jewish in Public is not easy nowadays. You're worried about antisemitism, and for good reason. People blame us for everything. They stub their toe, it's your fault. They're yelling, 'Jews!!!' Traveling and a flight gets cancelled. It's the Jews. If they see a Jew Davening, they blame the prayers. In a restaurant, somebody gets a stomach ache. If they see a Jew walking by, it's the Jews. If they don't see a Jew, it's the Jews. If they meet a Jew they don't like, it's Jews.
When it comes to Jews, they express singular in plural. Hence, the multitudes are blamed, and that means you. Hence, travel can be dangerous. Hence, I bring you techniques to hide your Jewishness for safety.
Wear A Baseball Hat
The traditional way of hiding Frumness, the baseball hat dates back to the Brooklyn Dodgers. For years we have been camouflaging Yiddishkeit with team logos, and random names of cities we've vacationed at. The problem is the anti-Semites have figured out the baseball hat technique.
Baseball hats work as a great Jewish disguise at baseball games. The issue is that baseball games are too expensive. If it wasn't so expensive, we would be able to get season tickets and have a safe summer experience.
I have a feeling the baseball hat never worked. My dad would have his beard, a baseball hat and suit. They know we're Jewish. You can't hide a beard and a suit with a baseball hat. Stopping for gas, letting everybody know you're a New York Yankees fan with Payis. Nonetheless, it's tradition and it's a good place to start. We just need more than the baseball hat.
I would suggest the boater. People also used to love to wear those to baseball games. The problem is they're not comfortable enough. They also throw off the Tefillin. To hide your Jewishness from the anti-Semites, you need a flimsier hat that allows you to dawn your Tefillin. You still want to keep the Mitzvot around the anti-Semites.
Without the Baseball Hat Nothing Else Works
The Kippah is a dead giveaway.
Women don't need a baseball hat. The shaytel works fine as its own Jewish camouflage. They anti-Semites don't notice the extra eight inches of hair volume. They just think you have extensions. Jewish women wear wigs. NonJewish women wear extensions. They can't tell the difference.
Don't Smuggle In Cans to the Movies
They know you're Jewish. I am not suggesting to buy fountain cola. That stuff is way too expensive. Especially when Krogers has a deal on 12oz Coke.
Smuggle in bottles. The fizz makes less noise than the can popping and rattling during the opening credits.
Hide Your Prayers
You can't just go out there and start Davening Mincha, swaying with your eyes closed. Mouthing the Amidah prayer is a dead giveaway.
Hide behind a candy machine for Mincha. Candy machines are the perfect place for masking prayer. People understand you standing there for five and a half minutes, meditating over which chocolate to buy. Praying for a good Mars bar is something everybody does. I always pray by candy machines. Maybe Gd will answer my prayers and give me two for the price of one. Sometimes that extra blessing falls through the spiral.
The phone booth Mincha has worked for our family for generations. They see you in there, not picking up the phone, you might have them thinking you're a superhero. Issue: It's 2023. Everybody has a cellphone. They might have figured out the phone booth method.
Davening by your car? It's hard to hide that. Have the car door open. When you bow for Modim, make it look as though you're trying to find something on the floor of your car. When rising from the bow, hold a quarter real high. People will know you found a quarter, and they will understand.
I would suggest the trunk, but that just looks like you're going over the stash of cocaine you're smuggling through.
Hiding your Davening in the airport can be hard. I can only stare at the departure screen for so long before people start asking why I'm reading the carrier number with my lips. For this reason, Jews should stick together and Daven with a Minyin. If you have at least ten men praying together, the chances of being attacked are less. Truth be told, sometimes I take a flight just to catch a Mincha myself.
I don't suggest doing the Amidah with your feet together on the subway. You'll fall.
Try to Be More Inconspicuous When Chasing People Into a Hotel
Chasing people into hotel because you need them to initiate the electric door on Shabbis. It scares them. Jumping on an elevator and getting off on the wrong floor, so that you can get away with walking down a couple flights, it's scary. And I know it's hard to have to walk up the service stairs on Shabbat. But you have to do it if you're hiding your Jewishness. Otherwise, you can get hurt.
They get scared and attack and they have an alibi: 'He was following me… The guy who was talking to himself in the hallway earlier near the candy machine… I don’t know if it was a blessing or he was cursing me. Then he jumped on my elevator... He didn't need my floor. He said "Whatever floor you're going to." So, I attacked... No. I'm not an anti-Semite.’
Cover Your Mouth When Praying
This is the only positive of COVID. The mask. You can always hide your prayers with a mask. Now you don't need to Bitul Zman (waste time) anywhere. On line at the supermarket, you can be saying Tehillim.
The yawn method works well too. Cover your mouth for a really long yawn when leaving the bathroom. They'll have no idea you're saying the Asher Yatzar Bracha. They'll just think Jews yawn for a really long time. At worst, they'll know you're Jewish and think you're very tired.
If you're yawning with a baseball hat and COVID mask, they'll never figure you out. Truth be told, the COVID mask is the perfect disguise. How many Frum Jews have you seen wearing masks?! Exactly. Only apostates walk around with a mask.
Pray With an Earbud
The talking on the cellphone method of prayer has been a great default connection to Gd over the past many years. The only issue is the speed at which one talks to Gd, as opposed to regular conversation; nonJews know that only Jews can talk that fast.
Never Try To Get a Deal
They think Jews like sales. To hide your Jewishness from the anti-Semites correctly, you want to get ripped off. NonJews like getting ripped off. Be sure to pay more. If you can, pay the suggested retail price. Marked up if possible.
Don't Read The Labels
Nobody else reads labels on food, other than Jews. OK. You're going to read labels. You're a good Jew. But don't make it obvious. As hard as it may be, don't ask the waitress if the coffee is kosher. They'll know you're Jewish. NonJews are not showing up to coffee shops looking for kosher lattes and Danish.
Try to read all labels from your spot. Squint if you must. A monocle can be helpful. Best is a monocle that doubles as a magnifying glass. Binoculars will get you in trouble. Nobody looks like they're not a stalker with binoculars. And restaurateurs don't like when you stalk their food.
If you must ask them to see the package, don't tell them you keep Kosher. Nobody respects that. Tell them you're on a serious gluten free diet. People respect gluten.
If you can pull it, let them know you're an inspector. They might let you in the kitchen. While you're there, you can kosher the ovens.
Don't Tell People You Know Everybody
Nobody cares. Not even Jews. Waiters and waitresses don't care if you know they're boss. They hate their boss.
NonJews don't know anybody. They need resumes. They have to go through their whole history of getting fired, and present it on paper, before they can get a job.
Say Stuff Like 'Yo'
'Nu. Shulum Ulayechem.' That gives it away real fast.
Safety Comes First
Always remember to wear your baseball hat. Without it, none of the techniques work.
Use any of these techniques and you'll having them wondering if you're Jewish, and you will be safe. They'll theorize and they may figure you out. But they will never be sure, surmising, 'I think he's Jewish. I saw him haggling with the candy machine. He had a hat and a beard. I think he might be a biker with a minivan. Got those kids with him too. Long sideburns. Maybe they bring them together to make little bikers... Definitely Jewish. I just saw them go into McDonald's. Didn't buy anything. Just using the bathroom. They've got to be Jewish. He asked if the burgers were kosher... I just don't know. All I saw was a baseball hat.'
If you're not worried about anti-Semites killing you, walk around with your baseball hat, Daven on the sidewalk, ask to see each item on the menu, so you can figure out if it's kosher and part of the lunch special. Follow them into the elevator with your binoculars, and pop open a can of Dr. Thunder. And let them know you got a deal on it.
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My kids take after me. Due to Kibud Av vEim, they always let me take first.
You get it? ‘Take after me' means to be like their dad. Instead, they let their dad fill his plate first, as per the Mitzvah to honor parents. Very good kids. If we can have a positive influence on the next generation with our puns, that is the blessing.
Giving Tzedakah, I like to know where the charity is going. That charity box in the front is for kids who need help with their artwork.