Jews & Sports

from Big Mo's Sports Desk

The Newest Jewish Face of American Football

  • 1 From - Craig Ellenport

What does Offensive Left Tackle Gabe Carimi of the University of Wisconsin Badgers have in common with Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax? Leave it to's Gil Brandt to uncover the combine tidbit of the day.
You guessed it. Not only is Carimi Jewish, he is true enough to his faith that he will follow in Koufax's footsteps and doesn't plan to give up strict observance of the high holidays. And that means no working during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which traditionally fall during the first month of the NFL season.
Carimi is prepared to let teams at the combine know they have no reason to worry. He told Brandt that he will explain to teams during the interview process in Indianapolis that he has checked the calendar, and the high holidays wouldn't force him to miss any games until 2015.
However, we've checked the dates on, and that information isn't set in stone. In 2012, Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Sunday, Sept. 16. So if Carimi is with a team that is playing on Sunday or Monday night that week, there will be a difficult decision to be made.
That said, don't expect the religious conflict to affect any team's draft decision when it comes to Carimi. Brandt currently has him projected as a first-round draft pick on April 28, in his group of the top 21 to 30 players available.

  • 2. From - Madeline Miller

Often described as the latest face of Jewish football, University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Gabe Carimi, at 6'7" and 327 lbs. (2m tall, 150kg weight), has proven to be a force to be reckoned with both on and off the field.

Co-captain Carimi is the recipient of the Outland Trophy for being the nation's top interior lineman on either side of the ball, and has most recently been named first-team All American. His academic record is as impressive as his athletic execution. A civil engineering major, Carimi has balanced his academic and athletic responsibilities with finesse. His athletic achievements have not detracted from his academic accomplishments, such as his being named Academic All-Big Ten for the past four years.

Born in Lake Forest, IL, and raised in Madison, WI, Carimi and his family are active in Madison's Jewish community. When he is not at home, Judaism continues to play a central part in Carimi's life. In the interview, he emphasized that he does not view his Jewish identity as an obstacle in his life as a student athlete. His decision to fast on Yom Kippur each year, despite the fact that it often falls on game days, is noteworthy in that it demonstrates his ability to maintain his commitment to his faith and career.

When asked whether he had to overcome any stereotypes or preconceived notions, Carimi answered: "There aren't many Jews that are similar to me in build, but I think people generally consider my physical stature before thinking about my religious affiliation!"

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