People of the playbook

A Jewish guide to Super Bowl Sunday

As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, some fans may wonder: What does this mean for the Jews?

People are blurred by a long exposure as they arrive at the NFL Experience on February 11, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
People are blurred by a long exposure as they arrive at the NFL Experience on February 11, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

JTA — While there won’t be any Jewish players on the field when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Philadelphia Eagles this Super Bowl Sunday in Phoenix, there are still plenty of Jewish angles to the game.

First, there’s Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie, both of whom are Jewish.

Roseman is a New Jersey native who has worked for the Eagles since 2000. Lurie, a film producer from Boston, bought the Eagles in 1994.

During the DeSean Jackson antisemitism controversy in 2020, during which the then-Eagles star posted (and then deleted) antisemitic quotes online, Jackson apologized personally to Roseman and Lurie.

For Jewish Eagles fans, the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philly is selling Eagles (and Chiefs) mezuzahs.

But some Jewish fans are feeling conflicted about the big game — with longstanding concerns renewed after 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after an onfield hit last month.

“Although Hamlin’s medical crisis was a rare on-field occurrence, the trauma surrounding his collapse stirred up age-old questions for me, and for many of us, about the toll football takes on the bodies of its players,” Rabba Yaffa Epstein writes in a JTA essay. “What are we allowing to happen to these young men, in the name of sportsmanship, entertainment and national identity? When the Super Bowl airs on Sunday, what is our responsibility as spectators?”

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, right, stands next to general manager Howie Roseman before an NFL football game, January 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Epstein, a scholar and educator with the Jewish Education Project, explores what Jewish tradition has to say about this dilemma — and offers a path forward for Jewish fans who still want to enjoy the game.

And if you do plan to watch the game, our friends at The Nosher suggest some Jewish inspiration for your Super Bowl snacks.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, center, dances at a wedding ceremony for Ukrainian couples who did not have Jewish weddings in their native country, Boston, February 7, 2023. (Photo by Igor Klimov via JTA)

While the New England Patriots may not be playing in the Super Bowl, owner Robert Kraft still had plenty to celebrate this week. Here he is at a Chabad wedding event in Boston for couples from the former Soviet Union who were not able to have Jewish ceremonies there.

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