February 2008

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Athlete compete at the 2007 NFL FLAG Tournament of Champions in Orlando, Florida.

Hut, Hut, Hike
The Jewish NFL comes to Northeast Philadelphia.

-- Rabbi Rocky Caine

This past fall was an exciting time for Jewish football fans in the Philadelphia area. 2007 marked the first ever NCSY/BBYO Flag Football league. It was sponsored in part by NFL Youth Football and the JCC of Philadelphia.

For six weeks NCSY and BBYO teams competed against each other for the championship. NCSY (formerly the National Conference of Synagogue Youth) is the premier organization dedicated to connect, inspire and empower Jewish teens and encourage passionate Judaism through Torah and Tradition. BBYO, the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, is an independent Jewish youth group for teenagers in high school.

Each team was made up of seven to twelve players and a coach. Every player received an official NFL jersey. The two NCSY teams were the Eagles and the Bengals.

The NCSY teams were made up of high school students from all over the Philadelphia area. Teenage players included students from Stern Hebrew High School, Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy) and Council Rock High School . Each Sunday these high school students came out to have the time of their lives. Many kids remarked that in the past although they love playing football, they never had the chance to play organized football because most high school games are played on Shabbat. NCSY wanted to give these athletes the chance to play the game they know and love. All games were played on the fields at the Klein Branch JCC with official, licensed referees.

The NCSY teams really dominated the league. Philly NCSY went undefeated while Cherry Hill NCSY suffered one loss at the hands of Philly NCSY.

The championship game between Philly NCSY and Cherry Hill NCSY was on played on Sunday, November 25, over Thanksgiving weekend, and was a very well attended event. Family and friends came to cheer on their teams. A special guest, Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY, came with his family to cheer on the NCSY teams.

The final score was Philly NCSY 37 and Cherry Hill NCSY 18. "Now it doesn't matter who wins or loses what matters is that both NCSY teams made it to the championship game," stated one NCSY staffer. After the game, both teams enjoyed dinner at the Holy Land Grill sponsored by NCSY.

NCSY would like to send a special thanks to team coaches Andy Van Houter and Bill Jungreis, as well as a big thank you to the league commissioner Gabe Leibowitz.

Plans are already under way for the 2008 season which promises to be even bigger and better than this past season. If you are interested in coaching or playing please feel free to email Rabbi Rocky, Director of Philadelphia NCSY, at 267-939-0632 or email Rabbirocky@ncsyseaboard.org.

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