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April 22, 2015 2:53 pm

Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Geoff Schwartz will play in his team's season opening game despite the fact that it falls on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Photo: Twitter.

New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

“Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. 13.

When asked by a fan on Twitter if he is going to play, Schwartz responded, “Yes. I don’t miss games for Jewish holidays.”

Some social media users took the opportunity to tease the athlete about his choice, admonishing in jest, “just matzoh ball soup and Gefilte fish for pregame meal.” Another asked Schwartz, “Will you be bringing apples and honey to the field?”

Schwartz was raised in a conservative Jewish household. His parents reportedly only allowed him and his brother Mitchell, who is an offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns, to play football after they were finished with their bar mitzvah studies at the age of 13. Schwartz fasted for Yom Kippur last year and has invited his college and NFL teammates to celebrate Chanukah with him in the past.

The Giants originally asked the NFL not to be scheduled for a game that coincides with Rosh Hashanah, but their request was denied this year, reported. A Giants spokesperson said, “The first item on [Giants President] John Mara’s list of schedule considerations every year is asking that we not be scheduled for a home game during the High Holidays.”

Mara may find some consolation in the fact that the game will be played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, and not in New York.

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  • @Avi

    Bravo to your Mom for advocating her position for her minor child. Now that you’re an adult hopefully you too make the decisions for yourself and your minor children.

    Geoff Schwartz is an adult. The article did not cover his personal feelings or thoughts on the matter only his decision. While his decision apparently irks a number of respondents to this forum the fact is he made a decision for himself. Whether personally troubling for him or not; that is to be respected.

    Many of us face challenges in our lives requiring difficult decisions. While those reading his decision may find it difficult to accept from your religious perspective me on the other hand, without knowing Geoff’s thoughts on the matter, still admire and respect his decision.


    The fact is unless you haven’t come to realize it yet you are “different from the rest of america and had a different calender than everyone else” and all the more reason I support the State of Israel never knowing if and when I might have to seek its refuge.

    “…and why are you “proud to be of Jewish birth “if you have such a poor opinion of religion which Judaism above all else is?”

    Because of it culture: not its fundamentalist religious rituals or blind and obedient adherence or intolerance of others. Religion(s) in my opinion practices the unacceptable concept of differences such as “us” and “them”. To which I’ll add the historical fact that untold multitudes have died in the name of religion and god and continue to do so today.

    Again, I admire Geoff for making his own decision.


  • Avi

    When I was 10 or 11, the local punt, pass, and kick competition in Michigan was on Rosh Hashanah. My mom, who went to Hebrew school 12 years and daughter of a Cohain and scholar, called them up and said: Make accommodation for my son to do the competition another day. They did. I was the only one on the field. It was a different day than everyone else.
    I remember that I won. I was a good athlete growing up. But more than that and my anger at my Mom for making an issue and making me different, I look back at age 50 and think it was one of the greatest things she did. It was part of the formation of my identity as a proud Jew. I respect whatever decision Geoff makes. Agree must be agonizing for him. His teammates v. His people. Very tough spot. In the end, though, think he would have more positive influence and proper decision if did not play. But I feel for the guy.

  • Matthew

    As a gentile, I may not completely understand, but doesnt the Holy day start on Monday the 14th this year?

  • victor

    What tolerance! So, if a Jew is not religious he can be personally attacked. No wonder democracy had to invented by the pagan greeks and not by jews or their intellectual imitators, christians and moslems. the job of the Rennaissance is still under way.

  • Jeff could consider this a game ( NOT work) and not accept pay for the game. He could make a contract before the game, to donate what he would have made to a Jewish charity which helps the poor. This way, he could avoid any appearance that it looks like he is playing for his own personal gain that day. Also Geoff could pray the night before and the morning of the game. He could talk to his boss who could then talk to the head of the NFL. All that is left is for him to pray to Hashem for forgiveness if he is doing the wrong thing. I’m sure Hashem will forgive him.

  • Maybe one could consider football a game, and not consider it work. Maybe he could donate his pay for that game to a good Jewish cause. He could find time to pray at some point during the holiday….the holiday starts at sunset the previous day.

  • If the Giants are a New York team I suspect the team must have many Jewish fans and supporters. They should speak up and ask that the game finish before Rosh Hashana. Geoff should be receivng widespread support from people who respect religion.

  • Too late to change your mind, bubula. I’ve no doubt you
    have lost the respect of your teammates and many fans.

    Not being a football fan, I don’t know if games are scheduled on Easter and Christmas, but if they are, how many Christian players would play?

    • Mike

      All of them would play, just like they do on thanksgiving.

  • herb

    @Geoff Schwartz

    Bravo to you Geoff Schwartz for being your own man and for your decision making abilities and for doing what you feel is right for you.

    In my personal opinion this world would be a far better place without gods and religions and those having a need to impose their religious beliefs, values and fundamentalism upon others. The historical records are bloodied by the untold deaths in the name of one’s god(s) and/or religion(s). This very fact continues today and is exemplified in the news media each and every day and by the intent of some of the comments posted to this forum.

    Lastly, while I am proud to be of Jewish birth and a Giant fan, although I live in Dolphin territory, do what are right for you and your family. Good luck to you and a successful season for you team.


    • Barry

      I believe that Geoff would really like to observe Rosh Hashanah but feels that he owes it to his teammates to play. Surely an agonizing decision for him.

    • len

      herb how do you know mr schwartz is being his own man?can you imagine the pressure that would be placed on him if he decided to sit out the day?no, i think him playing is an example of how many of us jews who had to choose time and again as to whether we would stay home for a Jewish holiday and not work,or choose not to work on saturday and folded because we didnt want to upset the apple cart at work or feel embarrased that we were different from the rest of america and had a different calender than everyone else.How can you be and why are you “proud to be of Jewish birth “if you have such a poor opinion of religion which Judaism above all else is?

  • mireille mechoullam

    If Mr Schwartz wants to be respected he should respect himself first and refuse playing on one of the most Holiday of the Jewish calender.

    • Miriam

      I am not a sports enthusiast tho have a definite opinion on playing sports on the holiest days of the Jewish calendar. This nation was based on Christian and Judea values. Shame on the organization in scheduling this on our holiday.
      G-d is a very powerful force to reckon with. Making someone have to choose is pretty disheartening.
      Would a game be scheduled on Christmas or Easter? I doubt it very much. Being wreck less like this speaks volumes about your organization.
      I will NEVER support your team in any causes!

  • He should learn from Sandy Koufax who refused to play on Yom Kippur! Everything comes from HaShem so if the Giants lose we will know the reason! It would be because of him!

  • Certainly not in the tradition of some celebrated Jewish athletes.

    • Miriam

      I agree!!! Shame on him too. Doesn’t he realize that EVERYTHING comes from Hashem? ALSO, what does this say to the world!
      I AM A VERY DISAPPOINTED JEWISH WOMAN! This is a minimal sacrifice to be made with ALL those who have sacrificed before him and given up their lives. Like soldiers who defended AGAINT HITLER!!

  • len o

    I guess he never heard of Sandy Koufax,Schwartz should file a grievance with the players union, in this day and age where everybody’s sensitivities are so important Jewish athletes are once again treated with neglect.I believe its time for all Religious holidays to be treated with respect .No games should be played on Christmas ,Easter etc .Lets get back to the values that made this country great.God honors those that honor him.A few days out of the year should be set aside for contemplation if not prayer to look back to where we came from that made us a great nation and how we can continue that legacy and those great values.

  • art

    He is star and always in danger of losing his job. It is easy to stand in judgment

  • Yale

    Maybe it could be scheduled to be done before sundown?

  • According toThe NFL Players’ Association, the average career of an NFL player is 3.3 years. However, one’s Jewish heritage is part of a person for his lifetime. Choosing to play ball on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, is bigger than simply playing that night. It actually defines who you are. Geoff Schwartz is making a statement that his heritage falls lower on his list of priorities than his present job, and yes, football is just a job. When you physically can’t do it anymore, you move on. Even Conservative Jews take off work and attend synagogue on the High Holidays. Were you to do so, Mr. Schwartz, you would put yourself in the category of greats like Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. What role models they have become for future generations! It’s your decision, Mr Schwartz, but frankly, I wish you would look at the big picture. The season kickoff is just the opening game. The Super Bowl isn’t until February. You’ve got time to play. By taking off work for YOUR HOLIDAYS, you might find you’ll muster respect and admiration for connecting to your roots. And who knows?
    You might re-connect to that amazing heritage that your parents passed on to you. You might become another Alan Veingrad.

    • Miriam

      I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!!! Shame on him!!!