Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Paris Wrapup. On to England...

Paris is history.

I'm now sitting in a Hilton hotel lounge in southern England, waiting for their CRASHED computer system to come up so they can check in all the people (like me) waiting here in the lounge. Some are on their laptops typing away, others drinking and drinking...

So, while I'm waiting to check in, here's my Paris story for you.

(Just as a side point, I was given a demo today, and the person who presented the demo was named, "JAMAL". I almost burst out laughing in his face...my life is such a blog post, or the otherway around)


My French work colleague was very gracious and offered to drive me around Paris a bit before my flight out this evening. When I hosted him in Yerushalayim last month I went around the old city with him, so he was very happy to reciprocate.

On our drive to the Eiffel Tower, he told me about how as a French national, he was proud that France is doing a lot to come to grips with its complicity with the Nazis during the Holocaust. He spoke about memorials being erected to remember France's part in the deportation of Jews, classes being taught in schools, and the rigid "Holocaust anti-denial" laws.

I told him that I still hadn't decided whether I would wear a kippa or a cap when going outside to the different sights to take pictures, and when he heard my indecision, he was absolutely horrified.

He was deeply embarrassed that antisemitism is so rampant that almost all Jews refrain from wear kippot in France, and he insisted that I wear my kippa. He was literally overwhelmed that I was considering otherwise, and repeated over and over, "you MUST wear it...you must," as if wearing a cap would humiliate him -- that I would be in danger by proudly expressing my Judaism in his country.

I decided in the end (to his relief) to wear my kippa as I got out at the Eiffel Tower to take some pictures and mingle in the crowd to get better shots. Don't get me wrong -- there were stares and stares from many people there, but I ignored them as I took my pictures (and kept looking around, ready to defend myself from any attack).

While it was depressing that I had to be in such a defensive mode, my colleague was very appreciative, and he respected me even more afterwards.

Oh..my hotel just announced (after a whole hour of waiting) that their computer systems are up and running. Therefore, I'll just post some pics of mine from today, and will continue blogging tomorrow.





Layla Tov.

Jameel

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael






22 comments:

Ezzie said...

You still younger than me. Scary.

Ezzie said...

look*

MUST Gum Addict said...

You wore the Kippah! You're my hero Jameel (you've always been).

~ Sarah ~ said...

despite all the indecision regarding which headcovering, you still look pretty happy!

Jack's Shack said...

Why the long face. ;) Sorry, couldn't help myself.

David Linn said...

Oh yeah, tough guy wears his kippah in Paris. I would too if I were carrying an uzi.

Anyway, it wouldn't matter if you wore your kippah or not, your nose is a dead give away.

The back of the hill said...

I will confess that the idea of wearing a keppel in many parts of Europe is not one I'm comfortable with. An exception being three streets in Antwerpen, and an area of less than half a block in Amsterdam. And perhaps a few blocks in Stamford Hill and Le Marais.


By the same token, I worry about some of my friends here in the Bay Area who wear kippos..... it isn't that the majority would react negatively, it is, as always, the one person out of a hundred who would act like an idiot.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

After I posted I realized that you must be getting a tour from the folks at the office. Glad to hear that was the case, that you were a proud Jew, and that you have left Paris behind. Nice pics!

BTW as I left work yesterday I saw an empty pack of cigarettes on the ground. Brand name: Jamal. I thought of you and laughed. :)

YMedad said...

You need a bigger "face" cover.

Elchonon said...

The issue is that jews need to learn how to fight and ALWAYS carry a weapon..

We forget so fast that we are in galut still.. 6 million jews were murderd only 60 years ago.. get a knife etc..!!

I dont get scared though, I live right accross from the old city and spend the rest of my time in chevron.. and hitching 24/6

I have been trained and since gotten used to being 100% alert and aware at all times and wear a backpack so you cant get stabbed from behind.

All jews runing to israel is not the slightest answer and definatly not a solution.. the fact still stands that we can probably defend ourself's better in europe!!

There is no self defense law here (yet) and they wont give me a gun (still)

I have no criminal record and shabak know me VERY well as someone who does not stam make trouble and would never shoot unless in a life threatening situation..

But they say I have no need for a gun because I dont live in a danguress place?!?!? yeah only accross the street from sa'ar chadash and the old city.

Cyrano said...

If you are too afraid to walk around in a kipa then stay in your hotel room. No one forces you to go outside and crawl around like a galut Jew.

Robbie said...

Hey, thanks for posting all of the same photos that I was going to post when I got back to Israel.

You've totally stolen my thunder.

Have a safe rest of your trip, though.

Anonymous said...

Elchonon, thank G-d they dont give guns to psycho Kahana fans. Jameel, its not about pride, its about safety. Are you nuts?

RaggedyMom said...

I'm glad to see your kippah-pride wasn't quelched in France. Though it does appear that they set your legs on fire when you were standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe. Yikes!

Karl said...

Is it just me, but I can always spot the Jew - even if he takes off his Yid lid, or wears a baseball cap or the like.

rivkayael said...

Jameel, could you please kick antisemites off your blog already. There are many forums existing for them to make as much noise as they want. =(

Elie said...

Paris is history.

I'm now sitting in a Hilton hotel lounge...


C'mon, admit it, you started the post like this just so that google searches for "Paris Hilton" will be directed here!

Hit hog! ;-)

Neshama said...

Jameel, it must be the dull winter, but I've heard so much about Paris and France being so pretty, and those buildings and that statue - they don't look so French or so pretty?

You must have been on edge, because with that kippa on your head you look white as a ghost!

Lurker said...

I was in Paris about ten years ago, when things were not nearly as bad for Jews there as they are now. I started out determined to wear my kippa, but a French Rav told me that it is absolutely assur for me to wear a kippa on the streets or in the Metro.

What really amuses me, though, are all those "frum" American Jews who spend their vacations going around in baseball caps in the U.S. -- not because of any danger, but because they're embarrased to look "different". They somehow don't have a clue that they still stick out like sore thumbs. When my wife and I visit Disneyland and Disneyworld in the U.S. -- which are probably the safest, friendliest places on the face of this planet -- we play a fun game called "Spot the Frummies". It's pretty easy -- just keep your eyes peeled for the families where the women and girls are all wearing long sleeves and skirts, and the husband, wife, and boys all are wearing baseball caps -- then turn to your spouse and say, "duh, gee, whaddaya think?" :-)

Lurker said...

I was in Paris about ten years ago, when things were not nearly as bad for Jews there as they are now. I started out determined to wear my kippa, but a French Rav told me that it is absolutely assur for me to wear a kippa on the streets or in the Metro.

What really amuses me, though, are all those "frum" American Jews who spend their vacations going around in baseball caps in the U.S. -- not because of any danger, but because they're embarrased to look "different". They somehow don't have a clue that they still stick out like sore thumbs. When my wife and I visit Disneyland and Disneyworld in the U.S. -- which are probably the safest, friendliest places on the face of this planet -- we play a fun game called "Spot the Frummies". It's pretty easy -- just keep your eyes peeled for the families where the women and girls are all wearing long sleeves and skirts, and the husband, wife, and boys all are wearing baseball caps -- then turn to your spouse and say, "duh, gee, whaddaya think?" :-)

Lurker said...

I have no idea why that showed up twice. Another "New Blogger" feature, i presume...

Batya said...

There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

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