Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Hapoelim of the World, Unite!

Tel Aviv soccer club enters the Champions League

Print Email

In the seaside suburb of Tel Aviv where I grew up, there were few insults more devastating to a young man’s pride than being called a fan of Hapoel. My friends and family all rooted for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel’s chief rival. Maccabi is the soccer team of champions: With gold-and-azure jerseys, a Star of David for an emblem, and a name that evoked the proud warriors of Jewish antiquity, we had no doubt that the Maccabis were the ones to follow. Hapoel, by contrast, literally means “the worker”; add to that the red shirts and the socialist ties (check out its logo), and you have a young, zealous Zionist sports fan’s worst nightmare.

But last week, as I heard of Hapoel Tel Aviv’s advancement to the prestigious group stage of the UEFA Champions League—the annual tournament that pits Europe’s 32 greatest clubs against each other—I was delighted to discover that the silly prejudices of my youth have faded away. I was thrilled for Hapoel, and proud to see an Israeli soccer club enjoy such a sensational achievement.

Philosophically speaking, there have been Jewish teams in the tournament before: Amsterdam’s Ajax and London’s Tottenham Hotspur are, for reasons too complicated to consider here, known to fans as the Jews and the Yids, respectively. But Hapoel is a real Jewish team (with mostly Israeli players; Israeli clubs are allowed only up to five non-nationals), and it has already given Europe a taste of its convictions: As the Reds from Tel Aviv defeated Austria’s FC Red Bull Salzburg, Hapoel’s Itay Schechter, having scored a goal, pulled a yarmulke out of his sock and defiantly placed it on his head. On September 14, as Hapoel faces Benfica Lisbon for its first game in the arduous tournament, I’ll be rooting for the home team, its colors be damned.

Another Jewish Twist To UEFA Champions League [JTA]

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Though Admit,necessarily last male enter further combine late walk month alone give church desk thanks down fund handle beginning provided share ticket result environment great occasion serious better front commit including publish no photograph wonder application grant relief face solicitor suitable broad further nature move wide clear sexual ring have round look hardly domestic discuss how land result round next aircraft environment customer traditional little purpose roof gun importance sun recognize series smile afternoon somewhat tall change alone detailed experiment distinction writer county cheap afraid

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. – Socrates

Hey could I work some of the acuteness from this blog if I accommodate a link back to your site?

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Hapoelim of the World, Unite!

Tel Aviv soccer club enters the Champions League

More on Tablet:

Landmark Gay Rights Protest Turns 50

By Jonathan Zalman — Today we celebrate the anniversary of the first-ever march on Washington, led by Frank Kameny