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What’s Jewish About the Super Bowl?

What’s Jewish About the Super Bowl?

American Jews, like so many others across the world, are brought together by a love of gathering to watch sporting events – and my husband and I are no exception.

In the wake of Snowmageddon (the big blizzard of the year… so far) we now gear up for another important event – the Super Bowl. This weekend, we’ll join a group of friends from our synagogue at a neighbor’s home for their annual Super Bowl party. The hosts set up more than 20 screens throughout their house with seating so that partygoers can gather in small or large groups.

Some people are serious about following the game; others like to watch the commercials and the halftime show. This year, Jewish Broadway star Idina Menzel will sing the National Anthem, and a “Kosher halftime show” will feature a performance by the musical group Soulfarm as a fun alternative to the usual pop culture extravaganza. For those interested in tribal trivia, The Forward  shares plenty of gossip and fun facts about Jews and the Super Bowl.

Of course, people attend Super Bowl parties not just to watch and to schmooze – they also come to eat. At the party I attend every year, the host makes an awesome turkey chili and offers tons of beverage choices from his backyard cooler; the hostess likes fresh, healthy foods, so I keep that in mind when deciding what to bring.

This year, squashes of all kinds and avocados seem to be plentiful in my local supermarket, so I’ll either bake a butternut squash with cranberry rice or make a bowl of good old guacamole – though probably not in the shape of a football, deflated or otherwise.

Here are my recipes:

Game-Day Guacamole

Ingredients:

3 skinned, pitted avocado
3 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon or orange juice
3 teaspoons plain Greek yogurt
3 teaspoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped or minced onion
3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper (for a spicier mix)
Salt, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper to taste

Mash avocados. Mix in mayonnaise and yogurt. Fold in red pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper. Add spices to taste. Chill for an hour or more. Serve with chips or crackers. Makes 3 cups.


Butternut Squash with Cranberry Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon honey
olive oil
salt

Cut squash in half, remove the seeds. Place in lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with orange juice, honey, ginger, and  1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake 45 about minutes in oven preheated to 365°. (If you’re short on time, as an alternative, you can cook this in the microwave for about 20 minutes.)

Separately, bring water to a boil. Add a dash of salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Lower flame to medium-to-low and add rice. Stir occasionally.  Cook about 20 minutes until rice is done. Stir in cranberries.

Stuff squash with rice mix. Cut squash into portions and serve. Makes 6 to 8 portions.

If you want to bring something slightly more Jewish to your Super Bowl party, try making classic hummus (chickpea dip), which pairs well with warm pita or baby carrots. In anticipation of next week’s Tu BiSh’vat holiday, you could also bring a platter of fresh figs with goat cheese and honey, an upscale addition to any party spread, or Tu BiSh’vat fruit and nut cups, a healthy side or snack that doubles as a dessert.

Do you celebrate Super Bowl Sunday in a Jewish way? Share your photos and stories from your celebrations in the comments below, or on Twitter and Facebook. Whatever your pleasure and whomever your team of choice, I hope you have a fun and safe Super Bowl experience!

Audrey Merwin is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism’s communication team. She edits Reform Voices of Torah, the Monday edition of Ten Minutes of Torah, sings in the United Synagogue of Hoboken choir, leads services, and teaches in the synagogue’s learning center. 

Audrey Merwin

Published: 1/30/2015

Categories: Jewish Life, Arts & Culture
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