College football accessible for religious Jews

University of Maryland has developed a non-electronic system to allow Shabbat observant Jews to attend college football games on Saturdays.

Gabe Friedman JTA ,

פוטבול. ארכיון
פוטבול. ארכיון
צילום: משה שי, פלאש 90

It is hard for a Shomer Shabbat (Sabbath observant) Jew to be a fan of college football in America, writes JTA reporter Gabe Friedman, because the majority of games are played on Shabbat.

If a fan lives within walking distance of the stadium he can go to a game without violating Shabbat by driving. However, when he gets there he must have his ticket scanned electronically, which is also prohibited on Shabbat.

The University of Maryland, which boasts one of the largest Jewish communities of any American campus, has come up with a solution. As Mitzpeh, the school’s independent Jewish newspaper, reports, the university allows students to obtain wristbands instead of the electronic tickets days before Shabbat and wear them as a replacement ticket.

The solution is still not perfect, according to Friedman. He mentions jumbotron screens that broadcast the action happening below as a potential problem for some Orthodox Jews. Those who believe that looking at the large screens is also a violation of Shabbat, or that the games are not in keeping with the Shabbat spirit, will still be unable to attend their home team's games.