Last summer MyJewishLearning launched a new section about Judaism and sports. It took a little while to decide on the type of article that would belong in the section.
Were biographies of sports figures who happened to be Jewish appropriate for our site? We quickly decided no. There had to be a connection about Judaism and sports, not simply being Jewish and playing sports, in order to merit an article.
I was surprised to find that for many of the students the topic of Jews and Sports was not an oxymoronâ€”the stereotype of the unathletic Jew who doesn’t care about sports was unknown to them. Class started with a clip from the movie Airplane, in which the flight attendant gives a woman who wants some “light reading” a pamphlet on the history of Jews in sports. It surprised some of the students, and then stimulated a really good discussion about how stereotypes are created and perpetuated but also how they evolve and vary. In fact, my most valuable lesson from teaching the course was that using sport as a lens is an excellent way to introduce the key issues of secular Jewish life in America. (MORE)