By Daniel Chavkin
The Maryland Terrapins football team played Michigan State in the Terps’ first home game under the lights since 2011 on Nov. 15.
While many students were excited to witness such a rare event, this was an even more special occasion for the university’s Jewish population. Normally, Jews who observe Shabbat are unable to attend football games because they occur on Saturday afternoon. But since this night game began Saturday night, Jewish students who strictly adhere to Shabbat rules were able to join in on all the game-day fun.
While the university has made it “halachically permissible” for students who observe Shabbat to attend football games, some students don’t feel that attending games is in the spirit of Shabbat.
For those who would attend Saturday afternoon games, the stadium staff permits students to scan their football tickets ahead of Shabbat and then wear a wristband on the day of the game to let them into Byrd Stadium.
Shayna Berkowitz, a senior psychology major, normally uses the wristband option when attending football games.
Berkowitz said she only knows a few people who use this approach because some students hold that football games are not in the spirit of the holy Jewish day.
To commemorate the events, the Jewish Student Union, or JSU, held its own tailgate at Hillel from 6 to 8 p.m. before kickoff. During the tailgate, JSU served kosher hotdogs, burgers, and wings to all, and alcoholic beverages to attendees ages 21 and over.
JSU President Hailey Siller helped run the tailgate.
“We are hosting this tailgate because it is after Shabbat ends, so Jews and any students that have not been to a tailgate or want to support Maryland [could] come out, have some strong school spirit and do something great for the community,” Siller said prior to the tailgate.
Since those who don’t go to Saturday games don’t typically attend tailgates, freshman business major Ashwin Venateshwera said that “it’s good for them to experience” tailgating in addition to going to the game.
Junior civil and environmental engineering major Jake Aronson was glad observant Jews were able to attend the game.
“There are always opportunities that will allow for people to go to games in different ways,” Aronson said, “but I think it’s great that it’s after Shabbat and that everyone can go.”