I was walking to shul a few blocks away from home earlier this evening in the border between Beverly Hills and Pico-Robertson area. I had no qualms about wearing a kippah since this is a mostly Jewish area and it was a black one so you can barely see it. I’m walking towards a busy gas station with cars blocking the pedestrian way and there was this youngish guy standing there. He kind of looks me in the eyes with a menacing look. When I get closer, he moves to block my way then says laughing, “oh, you’re a Jew, a Jew!” I walk quickly away, but there were cars blocking going into the street so I go around there and a car whizzes past just less than a foot away and I was like omg, I could’ve been hit.
So I walk away a little freaked out as I’d never been harassed in public before in LA, especially in this area. Admittedly, a part of me was a little proud since he must’ve thought I looked Jewish. I wasn’t wearing a black hat or anything, just regular jeans and a t-shirt.
A couple days before, a friend invited me to Shabbat dinner that was a mixed crowd with Christians. Was having a conversation with this woman from Ireland who was an Evangelical Christian when all of a sudden she says, “you’re Jewish, you should know about money” and I was like wtf! I explained that the reason Jews used to handle the money in Europe was because the Church misinterpreted the Hebrew Bible about lending money to each other and had the Jews do it. She didn’t say anything. She was surrounded by Jews too and she had no shame. The guy sitting next to me walked out.
Ironically, the topic during the conversion classes this week was about the anti-semitism Jews experienced in Europe from the medieval times to the Holocaust so it kind of brought a new perspective since I personally experienced a very tiny taste of it now. Very interesting how I’ve been going to shul for years and never experienced this, and now weeks away from the mikveh, I’m seeing it now. I mean, they weren’t big events and I don’t have any trauma or anything, but who would’ve thought in LA?