Jews & Sports

from Big Mo's Sports Desk

"Bridge Weeks"

by Matthew Granovetter


At age 13, I first learned Bridge from a book written by Ruth Cohen. Now, on Shavuos I learn much more from a much better Book of Rut (no relation, or maybe she is a relation).

Unfortunately, bridge isn't currently the most popular card game (as it was some time ago). But it might make a comeback since it was added to the Olympics. Shavuos, too, was once a highly revered festival, but has unfortunately lost popularity in some circles. Let's work so it regains prominence!

When I went to the Israeli Consulate to apply for my Aliyah papers, I sported a mustache. Since most religious Jews wear beards rather then mustaches, the Israeli guard decided to test me (in case I was a terrorist in disguise) to see if I really was a religious Jew. He asked me: "What is the holiday of Shavuos?" He assumed I wouldn't know about this obscure, low profile holiday. I proudly answered: "it's the holiday we celebrate for receiving the Torah." "Enter, he said."

Now that I have a full long beard, a US customs official thought I liked suspicious recently when I was crossing the border from Mexico into Texas. He asked what I had been doing in Mexico. I answered, "I was in a bridge tournament." "Can you tell me who the Blue Team is?" I answered correctly: "The Blue Team is the name of the Italian world championship team" "Enter," he said.

One day I'll be at the Gates of Heaven, and when the angel/guard, knowing I spent so much time on bridge will ask me the entry question, "Did you study Torah?" I have the right answer. It wasn't all in vain, as I was able to relate the game of Bridge to Torah study in this Shavuos article.


Matthew Granovetter, a bridge grandmaster and world champion, is editor of Bridge Today Magazine.


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