Every year, members of Temple Beth Hillel attend Jewish Heritage night at the Oakland A’s. The list of Jewish baseball players is relatively long and well known (at least among Jews). The first name most people’s list would be Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax who famously refused to play in a World Series game on Yom Kippur.
But what about football? I have to admit that before I did some research the only Jewish football player I knew of were the 49er’s Harris Barton and John Frank.
This year, a Member of the Tribe will be in the Super Bowl again – Kansas City Offensive Lineman Michael Schwartz. In 2016 he even co-wrote a book with his brother Geoff (Carolina Panthers 2008-2011) about being Jewish and playing football.
The list of athletes who played on a Super Bowl-winning team is short. The list of Jews to win the big game is even smaller, including: Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Randy “The Rabbi” Grossman (who won a Jewish-record four times in 1975, ’76, ’77, ’78), San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Harris Barton (1989, ’90, ’95), 49ers tight end John Frank (1985, ’89), Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Alan “Shlomo” Veingrad (1993), Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Bobby Stein (1970), Miami Dolphins offensive guard Ed Newman (1973) and Los Angeles Raiders defensive end Lyle Alzado (1984). Last year the New England Patriots had two Jewish players – Wide Receiver Julian Edelman, who became the first Jewish player to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, and Safety/Special Teams player Nate Ebner.
So whether you are relaxing with friends watching the game or finding anything else to do to avoid it take a moment to reflect on the how many ways there are to NOT fit into the stereotypes of who we are. Instead,…
We are what we do.