Birmingham shul: No talking Alabama football on Yom Kippur


Nick Saban

The Reform movement is the least stringent of the three major denominations when it comes to Jewish ritual observances and Sabbath-related prohibitions. But try telling that to Alabama football fans at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham.

This Saturday is Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day. Which is nothing compared to what the day means for the Crimson Tide — a rematch with Texas A&M, the only team to beat the national champions last year, and its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel, the only player who made the national champions look silly last year.

While basically everyone in the state will be focused on the big game, Bama fans at Temple Emanu-El are under strict orders — no football talk during Yom Kippur services. Or even at the break fast!

According to, the following message was handed out to congregants during Rosh Hashanah services:

“Saturday, September 14 is a big football day,” the announcement said. “Some of Temple Emanu-El, and all of the clergy, are college football fans. It is because of our support the past seven National Championships have been won by the Southeastern Conference and, the last four, in Alabama. On Yom Kippur, and the hours afterward, we will not discuss or even insinuate the scores of football games. It is a violation of our Holy Day, and it will ruin the post Break-The-Fast experience some of us hope to have when the day ends. No scores, or high fives, or Roll Tides or War Eagles. If even a peep gets out, our pages in the Book of Life will be compromised and all of us will suffer.”

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