It's no secret that I am Jewish; I
sport my religion with great pride. When I read
about other people who take public pride in their
religion it gives me great joy. Here are two stories
which I trust will be as inspiring to you as they
were to me.
First there's the article titled
"Pilot On Mission To South Pole Takes Religious
Articles With Him."
Though there are
only 2,000 other human beings living in
minus-20-degree temperatures of the South Pole a
small flame of Judaism will flicker in Antarctica
over the next six months.
David Wakil, a 39-year-old Australian
pilot from Sydney, will leave for the South Pole
this week, leaving behind all he holds dear - but
not his religion.
Mr. Wakil will take all his religious
articles along with him and use them with great
pride. He will carry a Siddur/Jewish Prayer Book,
Tefillin/ phylacteries, a Mezuzah, a Menorah and a
charity box with him as he flies scientists studying
global warming around the South Pole.
The other news article - titled, "Have
prayers and Packers, too!" - spoke of Rabbi Shais
Taubof the Chabad Lubavitch of Wisconsin, who led a
group of 10 Orthodox Jews on a pilgrimage from
Milwaukee to Green Bay, Wisconsin. They tailgated
across the street from Lambeau Stadium - where the
Packers were playing - in a grass-covered parking
And they prayed and ate
According to news reports, "... they
showed that people can find or express their faith
at a house of worship or a house of sports."
When interviewed, and asked what the
point of the trip was Rabbi Taub answered, "Number
one, Judaism is not relegated to the synagogue or
the study hall. When you're a Jew, you're a Jew
everywhere. If a group of Jews want to go to a
Packer game, we do it like Jews."
"Number two, Jewish pride," he added.
"Some Jews should see this and say, 'You know what,
there is nothing to hide.' I can be openly and
boldly Jewish and do that anywhere on earth and go
where I want to go."
Very few people who surrounded the
group of religious Jews noticedthat among the group
was former Packers offensive lineman Alan Veingrad,
who is now known as Shlomo Veingrad. Veingrad still
stands 6 feet 5, but now has a bushy, gray beard and
wears a Yarmulke beneath a Packers cap.
"I think it's important to be proud of
being Jewish," said Veingrad, who played for the
Packers in the late 1980s and won a Super Bowl ring
with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s.
"It's a beautiful thing that you can
express your religion," he said. And that's what the
tailgate was all about - food and fun within the
guidelines of their religion .
These people who keep their religion
with pride made the news. There are ordinary people
everywhere, every day, of every religion that keep
their religion with pleasure and joy - yet they
don't make the news. They are every day heroes.
Every once in a while news stories of
people like David Wakil and Rabbi Shais Taub remind
us that you can be who you are everywhere and