Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Minyan before the Pats game

Fans of both teams daaven before kickoff

To a football fan, the hours before a game are sacred. Those hours are a communion for the fraternity of fans, a time when backseat coolers and portable grills transform stadium parking lots into a tailgate party.

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Last Sunday’s Patriots game was no exception. The New York Jets were in town – a division rival – for the first time since defeating the Pats 17-14 on their home turf. Adding to the drama was the win-or-go-home urgency of the playoffs.
Yet while most fans bonded over cold beers and grilled meats, a group of fans – supporters from both teams – met in a small corner of the Foxboro lot for quieter purposes: to say Minchah.
“It shows that if you really want to, you can find God wherever you are, under any circumstances,” said Rabbi Chaim Wolosow of the Chabad Center of Sharon. “We felt like the luckiest people in the universe to enjoy the game and still be able to pray. I would guess this was the first time a minyan was done at a Pats game.”
Earlier in the week, a group of New York fans contacted Wolosow to see if he knew enough people going to the game to form a minyan. Because of daylight restrictions, Minchah had to be said between 12:30 and 4 p.m., leaving a small window before the 1 p.m. kickoff. Planning on attending the game, Wolosow reached out to Sharon residents and found four other men with tickets – just enough to give them the required 10 for a minyan.
“They had the Jets shirts on and they got a few looks, and a little more than that from Pats fans,” said Wolosow. “We were OK, I guess, because we were on the right side. But for the service we all joined in together.”
As for the game, the Patriots won by 21 after letting the Jets hang around for the better part of four quarters. One would imagine that the ride home was especially deflating for those Jets fans. It’s a long ride back to New York before Ma’ariv.

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