Rabbis make Superbowl bet for NFL’s battle of Chai

February 4, 2016  

Two rabbis are betting for their communities, their charities and their favorite teams to win the Superbowl on Sunday. 

Rabbi Judith Schindler of Temple Beth El in Charlotte and Rabbi Joe Black of Temple Emanuel in Denver have brokered a wager that will help people in need from both of their communities benefit from the Superbowl.

The rabbis decided that the proceeds from all of the bets will go to charity, with some bragging rights thrown in for good measure. 

Americans, as well people from all over the world tend to bet on sporting events such as the Superbowl in a big way. The Los Angeles Times reports this year’s Superbowl is expected to see $4.2 billion in bets in the United States alone. 

With regular bets on the game’s outcome as well as “prop-bets” on weird and whacky statistics being the norm, Schindler and Black have decided that the time has come to put some of these bets to good use. 

According to ReformJudaism.org, two-thirds of the money raised in a joint online fundraiser will go to a charity chosen by the synagogue in the winning city. As an act of good sportsmanship, the other third will go to the losing city’s charity. 

Superbowl 50 is set to take place on Sunday February 7th and it will be played between the Carolina Panthers, who are a six point betting favorite to win the game, and the Denver Broncos who are surprisingly the underdogs.

The Panthers led by Cam Newton, have won 17 games this season, having lost only one game to the Atlanta Falcons on December 27th. Should the Panthers win, the victory will be their 18th, a special number in Jewish tradition that signifies life.

Schindler created a promotional video for the bet entitled “God is a Panthers Fan.” Schindler said that the team’s star quarterback, Cam Newton, recently named his son Chosen, which of course brings to mind the phrase the “chosen people,” she says.

That added on to the symbolic number of wins that the team will attempt to achieve on Sunday will certainly seal the covenant and garner the team the coveted Superbowl trophy. Newton, recently said at a press conference that took place on Monday, that his 1-month-old baby is already walking. Schindler claims that this strongly suggests the child has superhuman powers. 

Should the Panthers win, Schindler has decided that the larger portion of the bet will go to the Shalom Park Freedom School in Charlotte, which offers summer programs to low-income children.

Denver, not to be outdone, made a video of their own. While Denver’s video did not call upon the grace of God to help them win the game – only the grace of quarterback Peyton Manning and the best ranked defense in the NFL  the video did call upon fans in both cities to donate to the cause.

It should be noted that Denver will counter the significance of the number of “chai” with their own version, as it is the number worn by their quarterback and leader. 

If the Broncos win, the larger share will go to Denver’s Jewish Family Service, which provides meals to families in need.

Haaretz reported that as of Wednesday afternoon, the synagogues had raised more than $4,100.

As to which team will win, and whether God will intervene or not, we will have to wait until Sunday to find out. But either way the game will prove to be a win for Jews in need in both of the communities.  

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