In Alvin Rosenfeld's 2011 book, The End of the Holocaust, which I reviewed here, he notes that between one million and one and a half million children were among the six million Jews murdered by Adolf Hitler's Nazi killing machine in World War II.
Well, that remarkable young diarist, eventually another victim of the Nazis, was in the news again recently -- for quite an odd reason. As this Daily Mail story accounts, a Jewish employee of the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam was banned from wearing a traditional Jewish kippah, or skull cap, while on duty there.
Yes, Barry Vingerling, an Orthodox Jew, showed up for work on his first day and was told to take off his yarmulke.
A museum official later said that the museum did not have a policy on the wearing of religious clothing, but "we never had an employee before who wanted to wear a yarmulke, headscarf or cross. We first wanted to know if a religious expression would interfere with our independent position. The Anne Frank Foundation is an independent organization without religious ties."
As the story reports, "The board of the Anne Frank Foundation finally concluded, after more than six months of discussions, that Mr. Vingerling could wear his yarmulke. He said he was happy to hear he could finally wear his skullcap but still did not understand why the Anne Frank Foundation had made an issue out of it for so long.
"'I work in the house of Anne Frank, who had to hide because of her identity. In that same house I should hide my identity?' he said." Well put.
This bizarre story points to a widespread need for businesses and other organizations to adopt clear and sensible policies that allow religious expression as long as it doesn't interfere with others. There are common-sense solutions to these matters -- whether they relate to yarmulkes, hijabs or the wearing of crosses and other symbols. And it should never take six months to figure this out. Six hours should be the max.
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FAREWELL TO A FEISTY, FAITHFUL FIRST LADY
I certainly will miss Barbara Bush, who died this week. Here is a story about how her deep Christian faith guided her life. I'm surely not the only one who thought she might have made a better president than her husband. But, then, I thought the same of Laura Bush and Rosalynn Carter. I ranked it a tie between Barack and Michelle Obama.