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German Jews Warn Against Yarmulkes

By: JTA

After an attack on a rabbi in Berlin, Gideon Joffe, the head of the Berlin Jewish community, said he would “not recommend that any Jew go around in parts of Berlin with a kipah.”

On Tuesday, Rabbi Daniel Alter of Berlin was violently attacked while picking up his daughter from a piano lesson. He currently is recovering from surgery for a broken cheekbone. The attackers, reportedly Arab youths, asked Alter – who was wearing a kipah – if he was Jewish before hitting him in the face. They then allegedly verbally threatened Alter’s 6-year-old daughter.

Many Jewish religious leaders in the country advise their congregants against openly wearing Jewish garb in public; men routinely wear baseball caps or other hats over their yarmulkes when in public. Concern about openly wearing the skullcaps grew following an anti-Semitic attack on the Chabad Jewish kindergarten in Berlin in 2007.

Meanwhile, Inforadio, a Berlin station, reported Thursday that Ayman Mazyek, head of the Central Council of Muslims, said such attacks are “disgusting” to Muslims and pledged his organization’s solidarity and empathy with Jews in Germany.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany said the attack proved once again that violent anti-Semitism is a reality for Jews in Germany. Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit decried the attack as being against all Berliners.

In 2006, Alter was among the first rabbis ordained in postwar Germany. He is a graduate of the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, a Reform seminary.

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