Teachable moments from the wide world of sportsmanship
By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
seymourforweb2The Super Bowl is over and we are into basketball season — not to mention the many different sports kids and adults are involved in. It is important for us to think about the lessons we can learn from them. I have never been very good at sports; however, I do enjoy watching and I am very interested in teaching sportsmanship. A question that I have wondered about is where does “fouling” fit into Jewish values? Is it OK to sack the quarterback? Is it a Jewish value to be competitive? The important thing is that we have the conversation about these issues. Here are a few different texts from our sages to help you begin the conversation — Keep talking!

  • One who embarrasses his friend in public is considered as though he has murdered him. — Talmud
  • When judging your friend, always give him the benefit of the doubt.  — Talmud
  • On the day of your friend’s success, participate in his joy. — Midrash
  • Your reward is commensurate to your effort. — Pirke Avot
  • Exercise removes the harm caused by most bad habits and nothing is as beneficial as body movements and exercise. — Maimonides

Another important conversation to have is about today’s sports heroes. Is someone in sports a good role model? What makes a good role model? Here is a list of possible things to look for in a hero or role model. Use these as you talk about your sports “heroes” — do they measure up? A hero is …

  • Someone you admire.
  • Someone with qualities you would like to have.
  • Someone who is hardworking and accomplished something great.
  • Someone who is really good at something and has a special skill or talent.
  • Someone who is nice, caring and loving.
  • Someone who does special things or is a special person.

While we are on the subject of sports, do you know that a father is required to teach his child to swim? It says so in the Talmud!
Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center in Dallas.

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