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South African Chief Rabbi Permits Playing of Football on Sabbath

Dr. I. Rabinowitz, Orthodox Chief Rabbi of South Africa, has expressed the opinion that Jewish religious law does not prohibit the playing of football on the Sabbath. His opinion was expressed in an article in the South African Jewish Times, commenting on a furor caused by the forthcoming visit of an Israel soccer team to South Africa and its having accepted a schedule which includes playing some of the games on the Sabbath.

Dr. Rabinowitz disputed the “underlying suggestion” of the opponents of playing games on the Sabbath, which he described as being that to “play football on the Sabbath is as unthinkable as eating forbidden foods. ” He pointed out that ball playing on the Sabbath had been the custom in Israel thousands of years ago and was becoming the custom there again. “With changed conditions in Israel, where the gloom of the Diaspora has disappeared, the demand for a more congenial spirit of Sabbath observance” is being heard more and more, the Chief Rabbi declared.