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January 14, 2016 2:37 pm

Social Media Solidarity Campaign Calls on All French Citizens to Wear Yarmulkes

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Strasbourg  Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samama handing out kippot to passersby to show solidarity with Jewish people. Photo: Screenshot

Strasbourg Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samama handing out kippot to passersby. Photo: Screenshot.

A campaign was launched in France calling on all citizens to don the Jewish skullcap this Friday, after the Marseilles chief rabbi urged fellow residents to avoid wearing kippot, out of fear of antisemitic terrorism.

The social media campaign was launched under the hashtag   –#EverybodyWithAKippa — and by Thursday morning it had already garnered support from across Europe and around the globe, including among major US Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League.

The campaign calls on citizens to put on the yarmulke at 10:00 a.m. on Friday in a coordinated effort. The campaign publicized its goals with pictures of celebrities wearing kippot, including Michael Jackson, Robert DeNiro and David Beckham.

At the same time, in Strasbourg, Chabad Rabbi Mendel Samama launched a similar campaign, spontaneously deciding on Thursday to buy 100 kippot and head to the city center to hand them out to passersby, regardless of religion or creed. 

“I gave a kippa to whomever wanted one,” he said, according to Hebrew news site nrg.

“I told them that I’m a rabbi from Strasbourg, and I asked if they’d heard about the stabbing attack in Marseilles,” said Samama, referring to last Saturday’s attack against a Jewish man by a Turkish-born teenager outside a Hebrew academy in the city. The man was wearing a kippa when he was stabbed, but escaped relatively unscathed with light stab wounds. 

Following the attack, the president of the Jewish community of Marseilles, Rabbi Zvi Amar, suggested:  “In view of the tense situation in Marseilles, I think it is preferable for those who wear yarmulkes to wear caps … I don’t want any Jew harmed.”

“I told them, after a short conversation, that I wanted to give them a kippa so that they could express solidarity with us Jews,” said Samama. 

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