Daily Israel Report

Stares and Abuse: Irishman Dons Kippa for a Day In Sweden

Patrick Reilly, who spent a day "as a Jew" in Malmo, Sweden, spoke to Arutz Sheva about his experience.
By Adam Ross
First Publish: 10/21/2013, 3:37 PM

"Jew For a Day" Patrick Reilly
"Jew For a Day" Patrick Reilly
Patrick Reilly

An Irish journalist reporting in Malmo, Sweden, carried out an experiment to see what it would be like to be 'a Jew' for a day. He donned a kippah (head covering) and walked around the Swedish town to see what would happen next.

During the day, Patrick Reilly, who has lived in Malmo for two years,  was shocked by cold hard stares, and threatening looks he received.

On Monday, he spoke to Arutz Sheva's Tamar Yonah, about his harrowing day and saying "he was relieved when the day was over and he could take off the kippah."

Reilly donned the kippa to experience for himself the high rate of anti-Semitism in the city, which led the Simon Wiesenthal Institute to issue a 2010  travel warning  urging extreme caution, which has not been rescinded. Both of the town's rabbis have been the subject of anti-Semitic and abuse and attacks on their property.

Reilly documented his day as a Jew in the Swedish English language The Local where he writes: 

"It was as if I had two heads judging by the number of stares arrowed in my direction." 

Traversing the city, he writes “ a burly man walked aggressively in my direction and mouthed "f***ing Jew" to his friend." He also describes how in the space of a few hours wearing the white Jewish head covering clipped to his head, he was subjected to open mockery by shopkeepers.

The laughter at his expense was the least of Reilly's concerns compared to the intimidating looks he received. 

Waiting for drinks in one coffee shop, he said he felt the stares of two men "burning into the back of my borrowed shiny white kippah,” and describes how on one occasion, a group of men with dogs stopped in front of him with cold hard stares.  

Reilly said that he had asked a friend to accompany him from a distance to help out if he got into any serious trouble, who he says also told of another group of men who had been staring solidly at him for 30 minutes from a cafe across the street.

At the end of the day un-clipping the kippa, Reilly said he was frankly relieved, and that the experience was frightening. "Even when I didn't feel afraid," he said, "I was made to feel different and unwelcome.”