Mensch Madness 2016 Begins!

Every March, the ISJL (a very sports-centric Southern and Jewish office) holds a tournament of champions: Mensch Madness.

We get in on the March Madness basketball excitement by dreaming up Jewish-themed match-ups filling a biblical bracket. The inaugural Mensch Madness tournament of 2014 matched up heroes from the TaNaKh (the Hebrew Bible) in each of a series of tensely-imagined basketball games. Last year’s tournament featured a round-up of Creatures of Judaism playing their hearts out and their hooves off for a shot at the title. Each year, every game had fans cheering on both sides. In the first two years, Moses and the Big Fish that swallowed Jonah were the victors who came out on top in their respective competitions.

Who has what it takes this time around, and who can’t kippah-p?

(Be on the lookout for lots of puns like that throughout this series.)

In this year’s edition, we’re pitting scholars head-to-head– Rabbinic Academy Head-to-Rabbinic Academy Head, that is. We are featuring some of Judaism greatest rivalries in a match-up for the (s)ages. Instead of recognizing characters from within Jewish text, we’re letting our commentators step off of the sidelines and into the action. Great thinkers like Isaac Luria, the Rambam, and Nechamah Leibowitz have had their “shots” to talk (or write) a big game and now we’ll see if they can sustain the full-court press. They’re proven in rabbinic courts, but how will they fare on the basketball court?

We are proud to announce the participants in our 3rd annual Mensch Madness bracket. Over the coming weeks, we will report on the results of this intense basketball-based-biblical-brainiac  showdown. Each game will feature two commentators; using texts from the participants (and their detractors), we will determine who will claim victory and move on to the next round.

Our competitors have been training for centuries; they’ve stopped drawing on Torah and texts and have started drawing up their offense and defense. They are ready for the Madness. Are you?

Game on.

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