The Super Bowl game is an event that many Americans celebrate regardless of their team allegiance. The event occurs on a cold wintry day, when many who need the most support are ignored because of the focus on the big game. Individuals and synagogues can turn Super Bowl Sunday into a day to pursue justice by helping out at a local soup kitchen or by raising money for hunger and homeless organizations. Our tradition teaches us that we are required to help the needy in our midst and to provide them shelter and sustenance. By reaching out on a day when most of these people are ignored, we will be doing a great service to humanity.
Jewish Texts and Values
- If there is among you a poor person, one of your kin, in any of your towns within your land which God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against them, but you shall open your hand to them, and lend them sufficient for their needs, whatever they may be. Deuteronomy15:7-8
- This is the fast I desire: to unlock fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke. It is to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh. Isaiah 58:7-8
- God says to Israel, “My children, whenever you give sustenance to the poor, I impute it to you as though you gave sustenance to Me.” Does God then eat and drink? No, but whenever you give food to the poor, God accounts it to you as if you gave food to God. Midrash Tannaim on Deuteronomy 15:10, citing Numbers 28:2
- There is nothing in the world more grievous than poverty—the most terrible of sufferings. Our teachers said: All the troubles of the world are assembled on one side and poverty is on the other. (Midrash Rabbah,Exodus 31:12)
- Super Bowl Party for the Homeless: Congregation Kol Am (Chesterfield, MO) has been working together with a church in St. Louis to feed hundreds of homeless people on Super Bowl Sunday. Guests are first served lunch by the congregations and other volunteers. Afterwards guests are able to watch the game on big screen TVs in the church. Just before the game, dinner is served, with second helpings during halftime. The congregations bring used clothes to hand out to the guests and also buy gloves and socks to be passed out as well.
- Souper Bowl of Caring: Souper Bowl of Caring is an organization that encourages faith-based and school organizations to get kids involved in fighting hunger on Super Bowl Sunday. They encourage churches and synagogues to do research about different poverty, homeless, or hunger organizations and afterwards to donate funds that are collected on Super Bowl Sunday to those organizations. More information can be found on their website including online resources and registration information.