An Orthodox Jewish baseball fan says he was left feeling humiliated when a man grabbed his yarmulke during a game and accused officials at his favorite team standing by as he was made to beg for it back.
Ben Lapin was watching the New York Yankees’ defeat against the Los Angeles Dodgers when his yarmulke, also referred to as a kippah, was taken by a man behind him.
The 45-year-old had to beg with the man before it was returned, but said staff failed to act despite reporting it to five security guards.
Mr Lapin told: ‘I was shocked. This hasn’t happened to me since I was 12 years old.’
And he added: ‘It was humiliating. This is a religious symbol.’
Despite the man taking the yarmulke in full view of officials, Mr Lapin is furious that it was not acted upon.
As the man teased him, he feared he would have to go home without the religious headwear.
He said: ‘The police were right there. Nobody did anything.’
When he did report it to a security guard, Mr Lapin said, he was told: ‘Oh, the guy left. We can’t do anything. Oh, he must have been a Dodgers fan.’
After he complained, a Yankee supervisor offered him free tickets to a game which he refused.
Mr Lapin said: ‘I’m scared to go to a Yankee game. I don’t want to go back there.
‘There’s a lot of antisemitism. We don’t have to be afraid to wear a yarmulke at Yankee Stadium.’
Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion told the newspaper: ‘We took the complaint very seriously and we are trying to identify the offenders.’
But assemblyman Dov Hikind said it was not enough. He described the yarmulke theft as a ‘hate crime’ and said: ‘When you wear a yarmulke, you’re a Jew, a proud Jew and a religious Jew. It’s very personal.’
“We need to send a clear and strong message that there is no place for this type of behavior anywhere,” added Hikind.