This year’s NFL short list; Jewish Nobel winners

Michael Rosbash, a Kansas City native,  won a 2017 Nobel Prize for medicine/physiology.Photo: Brandeis University


Gridiron Hebrews

Jewish Sports Review magazine is out with its annual list of Jews in the NFL and it’s the “thinnest” year I can recall. Only three Jewish players are on an NFL roster. They are: NATE EBNER, 28, of the New England Patriots; ALI MARPET, 24, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and MITCHELL SCHWARTZ, 27, of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ebner, a special teams star, had a great season last year with 19 unassisted and assisted tackles. This was higher than any other NFL special teams player. He was named All-Pro, 2nd team, in an Associated Press poll.

Marpet, an offensive lineman, has started all of the Buc’s games during his first two NFL seasons. He may be moved to center this year.

Schwartz, also an offensive lineman, spent his first four seasons with Cleveland before spurning a “low-ball” contract offer in 2016 and signing a five year, $33 million contract with the Chiefs. His solid play last season got him named to the AP’s All-Pro 2nd team. 

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His brother, GEOFF SCHWARTZ, 31, was an NFL lineman from 2008-2016. He was injured during his last two seasons and retired last February.


Nobel Tribe Members

 Four Jews won a 2017 Nobel Prize and three have a Missouri connection. MICHAEL ROSBASH, 73, a professor at Brandeis University, was one of three co-winners of the Nobel for medicine/physiology. The trio’s award is for discoveries that explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions. Rosbash was born in Kansas City, the son of German Jewish refugees. His father was a cantor. His family moved to Boston when he was 2 years old.

 RAINER WEISS, 85, BARRY BARISH, 81, and Kip Thorne were awarded the physics prize for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. Weiss was born in Germany, the son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. The family was living in Czechoslovakia in 1938 when the Munich agreement gave the country to the Nazis. They were allowed to come to the States in 1939 because the prominent (Jewish) Stix family of St. Louis sponsored them (as they did many others). 

In an interview, Weiss recounted how many years later he thanked ERMA STIX, the elderly widow of ERNEST STIX, Sr.  Barish’s paternal grandparents moved from Poland and eventually settled in Sioux City, Iowa, where his grandfather, HYMAN, and his two brothers founded a Ford dealership. His maternal grandparents also were from Poland. 

In 1921, the Barish brothers refused to distribute, as ordered, an anti-Semitic paper that Henry Ford sponsored. They forced the Ford company to buy them out. The brothers moved to Omaha, where they opened a Dodge dealership. Barry’s mother, who was born in Missouri, moved to Omaha when she was about 10. Barry was born in Omaha, but mostly grew up in Los Angeles. 

The extended Barish “car-selling” clan, including Barry’s father, decided California was a better place to sell cars after World War II. (At press time, I was able to confirm that RICHARD THALER, 72, the economics prize winner, is Jewish, too. )


TV Doings

 On Oct. 13, Netflix will release “The Babysitter,” an original horror-comedy film. Basic plot: teenager Cole (JUDAH LEWIS, 16) spies on his hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving), only to learn that she is part of a cult that plans to kill him. Lewis previously had a big role in the 2015 film “Demolition.” His parents, HARA and MARK LEWIS, are acting teachers in Los Angeles.

 The original Showtime series, “White Famous,” premieres on Sunday, Oct. 15. Jay Pharoah plays a talented young African-American comedian whose star is rising. He has to figure out how to maintain his credibility with black people as he crosses-over into wider fame—referred to by black entertainers as “white famous.” The series is inspired by the life of Jamie Foxx. MICHAEL RAPAPORT, 47, and STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY, 66, have large supporting roles (for information on an upcoming Jewish Book Festival event with Tobolowsky, see this week’s ChaiLights calendar on page 18).