Here are your choices for halftime entertainment during the Super Bowl on Sunday evening: Beyoncé or Charlie Harary, C.B. Neugroschl and Rabbi Kenneth Brander.
Beyoncé, the Grammy Award-winning (and Inaugural lip-synching) singer, will perform during halftime of the National Football League championship game in New Orleans between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, Harary, Neugroschl and Rabbi Brander will appear in a video — the “YU Torah Halftime Show” (yu.edu/halftime) — produced by Yeshiva University’s communications department and Center for the Jewish Future as an alternative to the standard flashy-and-often-fleshy show that usually attracts the year’s largest viewing audience in the country.
In the 16-minute YU video, which features music and sports clips, professional production standards and some dry humor, the three scholars offer brief Torah discussions that reflect themes of the day’s athletic event.
Harary, a clinical professor of management and entrepreneurship at YU’s Syms School of Business, talks about “greatness,” things like patience and faith that lead to success. Neugroschl, head of school at YU’s High School for Girls, talks about the value of perseverance that professional athletes exemplify. And Rabbi Brander, dean of the Center for the Jewish Future, basing his remarks on the week’s Torah portion (Yitro), talks about the role that “outsiders” can play in furthering a community’s goals. The video can be viewed or downloaded all day Sunday.
The Center’s halftime video, with the pitch, “Are You Ready For Some Torah?” (youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Lje9A7l9SEg), stresses that “there is Torah found in every aspect of life,” Rabbi Brander says. “It is our responsibility to find it.”
The video, Rabbi Brander says, is aimed at sports fans, Jewish or not, who will be watching the game at home and sometimes in synagogue-based parties and want to spend part of the time between the second and third quarters productively. “This is a nice alternative … much more Torah-oriented than the halftime show the NFL puts out.
“It’s hip and it’s serious,” the rabbi says. “It’s a new step” for the YUTorah Online project (yutorahonline.org) that already offers a wide variety of written and audio classes.
By including Neugroschl, who is female (a haredi-produced video would be unlikely to feature a woman speaking to a mixed-gender audience), the video sends the message that “there is nothing wrong with being able to learn Torah from both men and women.”
Rabbi Brander says he plans to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. “I always watch the game with my kids.” And at halftime, some Torah. “My kids will watch the video with me.”