How to make the Olympics more Jewish.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place this February in Seoul. Athletes from around the world will participate in a potpourri of events that will showcase their abilities and determination, proudly representing their country.
To make the Olympics more Jewish-friendly, add more food-related events.
Over the last few decades there have been plenty of Jewish Olympians but the Olympic events themselves are not particularly Jewish. At the Olympics you will not find hora dancing, challah baking, shofar blowing, sukkah building, mezuzah posting or kiddush making.
If one wanted to make the Olympics more Jewish-friendly, the first things to add would be food-related events. In fact, a strong argument could be made that there would be far more Jewish Olympians if there were events in the Winter Olympics such as brisket bobsledding, latkes luge and cross-country knishing as well as events in the Summer Olympics such as roast beef rowing, cholent relay and synchronized noshing. Even if such food-related events are not sanctioned by the Olympic committee, there are plenty of current Olympic events that, with some modification or reengineering, could be made more Jewish. Here are some examples:
1. Shotput: When an aging and ailing Jew refuses to walk another step and then exclaims: “My knees are shot, so I’m staying put.” Shotput.
2. Judo: When Jewish bakers battle over who makes the best challah, hence the event’s name: “Jew Dough.”
3. Table Tennis: When Jews sitting across from each other at a table haughtily lob boasts back and forth about their respective children:
Jew #1: David got into Harvard.
Jew #2: Sarah became a doctor.
Jew #1: David is dating a doctor.
Jew #2: Sarah married a doctor.
Jew #3: Two doctors . . . in the same family? You win that point. Your serve.
4. Badminton: When your neurotic Jewish mother, on a very cold winter day, desperately tries to convince you that you are not dressed warmly enough and specifically warns of finger-related frostbite because you are wearing “bad mittens.”
5. Fencing: When your rabbi reminds you of the classic Jewish saying that one should build a fence around the Torah.
6. Uneven Bars: When one family hosts a bar mitzvah party in their backyard while another family rents out Madison Square Garden, resulting in uneven bars, i.e., uneven bar mitzvahs.
7. Parallel Bars: When two Jewish families in neighboring Jewish communities schedule competing bar mitzvahs in their respective towns on the exact same day, resulting in parallel bars, i.e. parallel bar mitzvahs.
8. Floor Exercise: When you practice telling your unsuspecting and overly-protective Jewish parents that you want to move out of house, which is surprising news that will definitely floor them.
9. Diving: When kids in synagogue dive down to the floor to grab celebratory candy that has been thrown at the bar mitzvah boy.
10. Biathlon: When Jews devour an after-shul kiddush that is open to the entire congregation and then also feast on an invite-only private luncheon immediately thereafter.
11. Triathlon: When Jews complete the daily prayers including shacharit, mincha and maariv.
12. Pentathlon: When a talkative and lonely Jew has “pent” up feelings that are then expressed over a series of lengthy heart-to-heart conversations with anyone who will listen.
13. Synchronized Swimming: When two Jews participate in the same business deal that leaves both of them swimming in cash.
14. Water Polo: When Jews shop for (modest) Ralph Lauren beachwear.
Bottom-line: One way to increase Jewish participation at the Olympics is to replace the gold medal with extra-large chocolate gelt.Oy-Vey Olympics