When football and Yom Kippur collide

While many of us are finding this year’s Yom Kippur conveniently scheduled because it falls on the weekend, at Texas A&M the holiday clashes with one of the most significant days on the football calendar: Aggies vs. Alabama. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Saturday is not just Yom Kippur but also when the Aggies play Alabama in a college-football game of biblical proportions—and some of the school’s Jewish students have decided that mixing the two is kosher.

How are Jewish students handling it?

  • The school’s rabbi, Matt Rosenberg, plans to end Yom Kippur prayers around 1 p.m., in time for the 2:30 p.m. game.
  • The campus Hillel will be screening the game on a big-screen TV.
  • Some students who are fasting and planning to attend the game at Kyle Field will break with the A&M tradition of standing throughout the contest: They have reserved about 20 seats in the stadium’s handicapped section.
  • Because of the expected heat, Hillel’s prime minister, who plans to attend the game, said she’ll be bringing a water bottle.
  • One Texas junior is resolving the conflict by fasting on Friday instead of Yom Kippur, which is on Saturday:

“We figured we’d make a deal with the Lord and do it a day early,” he said. As to whether the Lord agreed to his terms: “I sure hope so,” he said. “We’ll find out if we beat Alabama.”

Meanwhile, a Reform shul in Birmingham is taking the opposite route with a strict new rule: No football talk on Yom Kippur!

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