Joshua Hammerman
Rabbi, award winning journalist, author of "Mensch-Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi"
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Why (Jewishly) the Patriots will win

The New England team has already beat the non-kosher birds the Eagles and the Seahawks; clearly, the Falcons are next

Over the years, my annual Super Bowl predictions, based on Jewish sources, have been known for their astonishing accuracy. This year, in the interest of transparency, I’ll not even pretend to be objective. So here are my top ten reasons why my hometown team, the New England Patriots, will defeat the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday:

  • In the Talmud (Berachot 9a) a protector is called a “Patranos.” This clearly refers to the New England offensive line.
  • Also, in Hebrew, “Pitriot” are mushrooms. Go here to see some gorgeous looking Israeli mushrooms, likely from the Hefer Valley (a fertile strip of land in Central Israel). This area of the country was redeemed by the Jewish National Fund in the early Zionist days, and the great symbol of that redemption, at least here, are Pitriot.
  • This game features two teams with Jewish owners, but Robert Kraft is the only one who has built a stadium in Jerusalem. His dedication to Israel and Jewish causes is well known. Some have criticized his friendship with Donald Trump, but the operative word here is not “Trump” but “friendship.” Kraft is a loyal friend, who does not forget those who have been associated with his family. I’ve seen that personally, in how the warm relationship his father had with mine has carried forward in his kindness to my family. Kraft, who rarely is overtly political, has been a major donor to both Republicans and Democrats, and his relationship with Trump began long before the President adopted his current policies. I can’t blame Kraft for being a loyal friend, I can only commend him for it — and hope he has Trump’s ear and will speak up about fundamental Jewish concerns like embracing the stranger and affirming the uniquely Jewish dimension of the Holocaust.
  • Ever the guardians of Kashrut, the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl victories have come against unkosher birds of prey — the Eagles and Seahawks. Beating the Falcons will continue the trend, which next year will continue with a defeat of the Cardinals.
  • Indeed, the falcon is listed in Leviticus 11:14 among those “detestable things” that should not be eaten. The next bird listed, incidentally, is the raven, who the Patriots already have defeated this season.
  • The Talmud describes the falcon as a skilled hunter, trained by people and used in the chase. Atlanta’s linebackers are indeed skilled at chasing down opposing running backs, and their receivers can chase down errant passes. But can these Falcons themselves avoid being caught? Apparently not. In 2013, Turkey arrested a falcon and accused it of spying for Israel. When it comes to birds, at least, one can take the approach of President Trump, who prefers heroes “who don’t get captured.”
  • The Jewish population of Atlanta: 200,000. Boston: 261,000, and if you throw in other New England cities like Providence, Hartford, Springfield, New Haven and, yes, Stamford, the number soars well past 300,000. No contest.

There you have it, my top ten reasons the Patriots will win. As for the score, Patriot Super Bowls in the Brady-Belichick era are always close. I see a three point win (there were three patriarchs, after all), 34-31. Incidentally, a Hebrew numerical equivalent of 34 is Gimmel-Alef-Lamed, “redemption.” After two years of inflated accusations and a bogus four game suspension, that’s exactly what Brady and the Pats will achieve this Sunday.

About the Author
Award-winning journalist, father, husband, son, friend, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and rabbi of Temple Beth El in Stamford, CT. Author of Mensch-Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi – Wisdom for Untethered Times (HCI Books). Rabbi Hammerman was a winner of the Simon Rockower award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism, for his 2008 columns on the Bernard Madoff case, which appeared first on his blog and then were discussed widely in the media. In 2018, he received an award from the Religion News Association, honorable mention, for excellence in commentary, for articles written for the Washington Post, New York Jewish Week, and JTA. Among his many published personal essays are several written for the New York Times Magazine and Washington Post. He has been featured as About.com's Conservative representative in its "Ask the Rabbi" series and as "The Jewish Ethicist," fielding questions on the New York Jewish Week's website. Rabbi Hammerman is an avid fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and all things Boston; he also loves a good, Israeli hummus. He is an active alum of Brown University, often conducting alumni interviews of prospective students. He lives in Stamford with his wife, Dr. Mara Hammerman, a psychologist. They have two grown children, Ethan and Daniel, along with Chloe, Casey and Cassidy, three standard poodles. Contact Rabbi Hammerman: rabbi@tbe.org (203) 322-6901 x 307
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