Are Jews that desperate for sports heroes that they’ll claim an athlete, regardless of whether he perceives himself as Jewish or not?
Take this piece on Sage Rosenfels from the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press website in which his father, Robert, briefly discusses the family heritage.
Eating organic was hardly the norm for Maquoketa, and neither was Robert’s background. Only two other Jewish families were in Maquoketa, Robert said. Although he’s proud of his religious background, Robert said, he doesn’t regularly practice Judaism. Same with Sage — on both counts. Sage was more than a little surprised when he learned one day during his NFL rookie season that he was being enshrined into a Jewish sports hall of fame.
“It would have been hard for us to be practicing Jews in Maquoketa, Iowa,” Robert said. “In the Jewish faith, it’s the woman’s religion that makes you either a Jew or not. My wife is not Jewish.”
So, do Jews “claim” him anyway? Who should decide? The individual? The rabbis? The parents?
Food for thought. For some more nibbling, check out Nate Bloom’s essay on “The Jewing of Ryan Braun“, which appeared on InterfaithFamily.com in 2007, when the Brewers’ infielder was enjoying his Rookie of the Year season, which was actually a follow-up to an earlier piece on Jewish celebrities.