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June 16, 2016 2:12 pm

Soccer Icon David Beckham Says He Feels Jewish Because of His Grandfather, Who Took Him to Synagogue

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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David Beckham, pictured, said he feels Jewish. Photo: Instagram.

David Beckham, pictured, said he feels Jewish. Photo: Instagram.

Soccer superstar David Beckham revealed on Tuesday that he considers himself to be a Jew.

The British footballer shared the tidbit in a discussion at the London Jewish Cultural Center, also known as JW3. When asked by host and broadcaster Kirsty Young, “Do you see yourself as Jewish in any way?” Beckham, 41, replied, “My grandfather was Jewish, that was on my mother’s side, so yes, I do…”

Beckham then told the 200-strong audience, “I was never brought up Jewish, but like I said, my grandfather was, and every time we went to synagogue, I was part of that.”

Beckham was known to be close to his maternal grandfather, Joseph West, who died in 2009 at the age of 83. West accompanied his grandson to receive an OBE honor from the Queen in 2003 and the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player once called West his “footballing inspiration,” according to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle

“My grandad would follow me everywhere to watch me play,” Beckham said.

During the hour-long talk with Young, the father-of-four said it saddens him that only his eldest son, Brooklyn, has strong memories of West. “He is really the only one who remembers him. It was explained to him, obviously the religion, but he was very young.”

The dialogue at JW3 on Tuesday focused largely on Beckham’s role as an ambassador for UNICEF UK, but he referenced his family frequently throughout the conversation with Young. He also talked about his wife, fashion designer and pop star Victoria Beckham, and how their relationship developed with the help of Jewish businessman Michael Edelson, a non-executive director of Manchester United.

David met Victoria, who was then a member of the Spice Girls, at the players’ lounge following a match between his team, Manchester United, and Chelsea soccer club, but she left with fellow Spice Girl Mel C before he was able to get her number.

“I thought, damn, I’ve missed my chance. But then a week later she turned up at [soccer stadium] Old Trafford,” he said, according to Jewish News Online. “Victoria is not the biggest football fan, as everyone knows. Then Michael walked in with her and I thought I’ll get her number this time!”

When asked by an audience member if Edelson did, in fact, introduce the couple — a claim the businessman has made in the past — the Brit replied, “He actually did.”

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  • Salisu Babadidi

    You have no idea what respectable behaviour means mate ffs

    • franklin delano paskutnik

      I sure do know what respectable means. And Muhammad Ali with his big mouth certainly was as far from respectable as one can get mate ffs

  • Melanie

    Yay! We will take what we can get! If you feel Jewish, welcome to the Tribe. We want to be inclusive, not exclusive.

  • If he feels Jewish, it’s good enough for me.

  • BernieS

    Who was it who said: When you’re in love the whole world is Jewish.

  • but was his grand mother jewish?

    • Rebekah

      You know originally it was if your father was a Jew. Not the other way around.

    • You know Meema, that is a bit of a sore spot for me. While both my parents were Jewish I married a non-jewish woman. We brought our children up Jewish and she loves the Jewish religion but never completed her conversion. Both my children consider themselves Jewish and in fact my son is orthodox and therefore went through the conversion process. I have always felt that as the blood of Isaac runs through me it also runs through my children.

    • Joan

      No, she wasn’t. Beckham has one Jewish grandparent, his grandfather. He also has a huge tattoo of Jesus down his side.

      • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

        But Jesus was also Jewish – probably more “orthodox” than many Jews can claim to be today. I hope I haven’t opened up a can of worms here!

  • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

    A “nice Jewish story” – for a change.If the Muslims had a sports icon in the person of the late Muhammad Ali ,the Jewish world can now also have one! David Beckham is the perfect gentleman and if he feels himself “Jewish” good for him.By his respectable behaviour on and off the sports field he is an example and role model to many young people today – in contrast to many other so-called “icons”.

    • Don

      Actually there have been many Jewish superstars in all aspects of sport (maybe not hockey – yet). Sandy Koufax – Baseball. Lyle Alzado – Football. Max Baer – Boxing. Nancy Lieberman – Basketball. Jordan Farmar – Basketball. Mark Spitz – Swimming. A very long list indeed. Jump in with more names please.

      • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

        I can immediately recall Joel Stransky of South Africa who almost single-handedly won the Rugby World Cup Final in 1995 for his country (playing against New Zealand) with a winning drop-goal in the final minutes of the game – it clinched the match and made South Africa the World Champions.At the end of the match President Nelson Mandela walked onto the field of play and congratulated each member of his country’s team on their great victory.Stransky is still considered a great sports hero today by all South Africans.Oh,I remember it so well!

  • diane

    good for you, i am so proud that you did not deny being jewish.

  • Rita Crespi

    If his maternal grandfather was Jewish, what about his maternal grandmother? If she was Jewish, then he is automatically a Jew. It’s passed through the mother although in the reformed synagogues he can be considered a Jew. He should make a bar Mitzvah! Shalom my Yiddeshe kinder.

    • But his mothers mother was not. He is not a Jew.