Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur
by Shiryn Ghermezian
New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported.
“If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just basically miss breakfast and lunch Saturday. I get grumpy, sure. It’s not the most fun 27 hours or so. But it’s worth doing.”
“Yom Kippur, everyone’s in services and you’re all hungry together,” he added. “Everyone’s just miserable, but that is the point. You want to feel that way.”
Six-foot-6 and officially listed at 340 pounds, Schwartz was raised in a conservative Jewish household, according to ESPN. His parents only allowed him and his brother Mitchell, who is an offensive liner for the Cleveland Browns, to play football after they were finished with their bar mitzvah studies at the age of 13.
Schwartz said he fasted on Yom Kippur starting after his bar mitzvah and throughout high school, ESPN noted. As a college freshman at Oregon in 2004 he didn’t play on the team so he fasted that year too, but did not observe Yom Kippur for the next three years because he was training for and playing in games. As an NFL player, Schwartz only fasted on the Day of Atonement in 2011 when he missed the entire season because of an injury.
This year, as Schwartz is not eligible to return from injured reserve until Week 9 of the season, he decided to keep the religious fast once again.
“The key is not to eat too much Saturday night when you break the fast,” Schwartz, 28, said. “Because then you get really sick.”
Schwartz has invited his college and NFL teammates to celebrate Chanukkah with him in the past, and said he tries his best to observe the high holidays. When it comes to Yom Kippur he said the hardest part is not drinking anything, specifically water.
“The worst part for me is the no water,” Schwartz said. “I drink a gallon of water per day. So that’s the tough part, wanting to take a sip of water.”