CHICAGO –– Of all the questions to emerge since the Bears played their season opener last Sunday, here’s one you probably didn’t expect: Is Tarik Cohen Jewish?
While Cohen was busy becoming an overnight sensation after his record-breaking debut, some in the the Jewish community were trying to figure out if he’s one of the “chosen people.”
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s website asked, “Is Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen Jewish?” “Cohen” is derived from the Hebrew word for “priest.”
Jewish sports fans and celebrities were buzzing about the rookie. Radio sports talk host Danny Parkins, who is Jewish, said on Twitter: “Every Jewish Bears fan should buy a Tarik Cohen jersey immediately just on principle.” TheFootballGirl.com founder Melissa Jacobs tweeted, “Tarik Cohen can at least be an honorary Jew.”
TheRinger.com got a bit ahead of itself and “incorrectly stated that Tarik Cohen is Jewish,” the sports site said in a correction to one of its articles.
“I would say it is very much a Jewish communal thing, partly because we’re a minority, to kind of look for affirmation in the general culture,” said JTA editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll. “The few Jewish athletes that there are get an outsized amount of attention.”
This cultural sports pride is rooted in baseball Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. “They represent proving that Jews can compete literally on same playing field as non-Jews,” Silow-Caroll…