LA Times - Star NFL receiver Julian Edelman is spending some of the offseason in Los Angeles studying for his bar mitzvah. Edelman, a three-time Super Bowl champ, attended a charity event at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on March 3, where we chatted about a few things, including his faith. ...
“My dad is Jewish,” Edelman, 33, explained before a banquet thrown by the Ruderman Family Foundation honoring filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly. ... “I converted pretty much,” he said. “I’m going to have a Bar Mitzvah here soon. I speak with a Rabbi every Friday. He’s from out here.”
Edelman said he has attended synagogue during football season. “I go to her temple in Boston,” he said, nodding at Amanda. “I only go once a year.” ...
He did not specify a date for his bar mitzvah, an event that would cement him into the faith. The ceremony traditionally celebrates a 13-year-old’s passage into religious adulthood, but those who have converted can undergo the ceremony at later ages. (A friend of mine who converted to marry a woman who is part of a very religious Jewish family went even further, undergoing a circumcision in his late 20s. Edelman and I did not discuss this possibility.)
Just to address the elephant in the room, let's take last things first and admit that we were all wondering the same thing. Whether Edelman is sporting what in high school we used to call the Anteater or the Hoodless Cobra. I mean, I'm not claiming I would've asked. Or even if I'd feel OK with having the information. But it's been an essential part of Jewish manhood for 5,000 years, so you can't blame anyone for making it part of the discussion. And as far as the guy in his 20s who converted, I can't imagine anything more awkward than telling your fiance's family you've solved that foreskin issue so you can finally start putting a conforming D into their daughter's V, according to the ancient tradition. That is true dedication.
As far as Edelman embracing his faith, good for him. I've heard him describe himself as Jew-ish, which I thought was hilarious until a couple of different Jewish friends told me that line is older than the Talmud. But whatever. It's still funny. Sincerely though, it's always a pure good to see someone becoming more involved in their religion as they grow up. Especially when it's not out some sort of desperation, hitting rock bottom or having a substance abuse problem (though those are positives too), but just out of a desire to be a part of their cultural traditions and get closer to God. Show me someone who's taking that path in their adult years and I'll show you someone who's asking deep, thoughtful question and interested being part of something greater than themselves.
The only thing I don't know about all this is, what happens at a 33-year-old's bar mitzvah? On sitcoms, they're always these huge, elaborate affairs bigger than all my kids' birthdays, First Communions and Confirmations combined. And hilarity always ensues. Because on TV, being 13-years-old and Jewish is never not played for laughs. But when the boy who's becoming a man in the faith is a multimillionaire, nationally recognized celebrity who's dated the most beautiful models on the planet, do you throw a huge party where everyone brings expensive gifts? I mean, what do you give the man who has everything, from Adriana Lima to a Super Bowl MVP to Tom Brady?
Still, congrats to him. And congrats to the Jewish faith for getting a fine addition. Just appreciate that, long before he converted to Judaism, he was converting first downs, double passes, touchdowns and 2-pointers. And performing miracles.