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JCC Dinner of Champions

I was honored to be asked once again to offer the invocation at the annual Jewish Community Center Dinner. This is an important fundraiser which raises approximately $250,000 to support the outstanding work of the JCC, especially its special needs and inclusion program.

 

JCC Sports Hall of Fame 2010

We gather tonight in the middle of the hockey, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and football seasons.

 

Tonight is a great night because we celebrate –

 

The wonderful work of the JCC and all it does to give otherwise disadvantaged young people hope, fun and the opportunity to just be regular kids;

 

We honor all those young people who are role models, counselors, campers, volunteers and staff members who give so much;

 

We come together as a community to celebrate what it means to be a part of such a vibrant and dynamic local Jewish community that despite economic setbacks strives to do so much to improve the lives of all, in pursuit of the Jewish imperative to better our world and to serve others.

 

And tonight we recognize and honor our local athletes and the pride they bring us from their accomplishments both on and off the field over the years;

 

As we all know in all of these sports, behind every good athlete is a loving, concerned and supportive family, and in most instances, a supportive Jewish mother. Nowhere is this more true than the story of one of the first great NFL players, Sidney Luckman, who was blessed with an especially loving mother.

 

Sid Luckman, a nice Jewish kid was the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player in 1943 and a member of the NFL Hall of Fame. He played quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1939 to 1950. He was the first modern T-formation quarterback and is considered the greatest long range passer of his time. During his 12 seasons with the Bears he led them to four NFL championships and five western division titles.

 

What you might not know is that the first time his mother saw him playing professionally was in a memorable game in which he threw 7 touchdown passes against the New York Giants. She wasn’t all that familiar with the game or what was going on. All she knew was what she saw – a bunch of guys chasing after her son, trying to tackle him and take the ball from him.

 

At one point she began to shout out at the top of her lungs, “Sidney, if they want the ball that much, just give it to them.”

 


Also published on Medium.

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Stuart Weinblatt

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt is the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. From 2009 - 2014 he served as Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Weinblatt is the rabbi of Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, a vibrant Conservative synagogue of 650 families he founded in 1988, along with his wife and a handful of families.