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December 8, 2022 5:00 pm

Former NFL Star Julian Edelman Talks Antisemitism and Jewish Life at Syracuse University


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Super Bowl LIII MVP and former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Photo: All-Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons.

Former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and Super Bowl LIII MVP on Wednesday spoke at Syracuse University about Judaism’s centrality in his life and his efforts to fight antisemitism.

Edelman recounted reading Torah as a young man and meeting with a Rabbi, adding that when hate emerges he practices “pro-Semitism,” which, he described, is a way of sharing Jewish culture and values with the world.

“The stories of Judaism were so parallel to my life, my career, always being the underdog, I connected with it,” Edelman told students at the university’s Goldstein Auditorium, according to The Daily Orange, a campus newspaper. “I don’t worry about the hate, I worry about what I can do to inspire people and worry about the good things you can and that our community does.”

The Daily Orange added that Edelman called for civil discussions about “insensitive comments.”

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“We all need to have uncomfortable conversations, that’s where it starts,” he continued. “When you learn about people you realize we’re all a lot more similar than you think.”

A favorite offensive weapon of another former New England Patriot, the seven time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady, Edelman retired in 2021 after playing twelve seasons in which he caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns. Today, he hosts the podcast Games with Names and regularly appears on television to educate the public about rising antisemitism.

Discussing incidents involving Kanye West and Kyrie Irving in November, he told a panel on Inside the NFL, “What people don’t realize with the antisemitism that’s been flowing off the charts is these are the same hate speeches and same propaganda and the same feelings that people were saying in the 1930a and the 1940s in Germany, which led to the worst, most devastating time for the Jewish people.”

“This was all basically the same kind of speech that we’re hearing the last few weeks. This is 2022. So, it’s jut a very sad moment,” he continued. “It’s just been very hard, especially as a Jew to hear these things that you heard back in the 30s and the 40s that transpired into the Holocaust. The same propaganda, the same thoughts, in modern-day time.”

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