What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread.
Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the most important Jewish holiday. Naturally, the situation in Syria is on a lot of people’s minds and prompted some animated discussions between services. Our rabbi’s sermon focused on a freakish lightning strike at a Reform Jewish summer camp in June. Another popular topic of conversation for central Iowa Jews was University of Iowa running back Mark Weisman’s “tough choice” to play in the football game against Iowa State. Weisman felt obliged to honor his “commitment” to the Hawkeye football program. His father told the Des Moines Register a few days ago, “He wouldn’t let his teammates down, his coaches down, himself down, the whole nine yards […] It was a tough decision, but I think he made the right decision for him.”
As the old joke goes, ask any two Jews a question and you’ll hear three opinions. I heard lots of perspectives on Weisman’s choice yesterday. Many disapproved and felt he was setting a bad example for Jewish kids. (Almost 50 years after the fact, many American Jews are still proud of Sandy Koufax’s decision not to pitch in a World Series game on Yom Kippur.) But I heard someone comment that Yom Kippur would be almost over by the time the big game started at 5 pm anyway. The guy’s on a scholarship, and there are only twelve college football games in a year.
I knew lots of Jewish kids in college who didn’t observe Yom Kippur, and many Jewish adults don’t fast or spend the whole day in services. If marking the Day of Atonement is not particularly important to Weisman, who am I to say he should sit out a football game?
I will say this: I believe Coach Kirk Ferentz should have shown some leadership so that Weisman wasn’t made to feel that he would be letting the whole team down by not playing.