Philadelphia football fans have long been known throughout the world as having no qualms about booing their hometown team.
But there was still something jarring about hearing the capacity crowd at Lincoln Financial Field turn on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles and the rest of the team — the personnel who just less than seven months prior brought the Lombardi Trophy to South Broad Street — as they left the field, down three points to the Atlanta Falcons, at the end of the first half.
Just 30 minutes after reveling in the glory of unveiling the Super Bowl LII champions’ banner, the team and their fans seemed as deflated as a Tom Brady football.
It was exactly what the Eagles needed, according to team captain and safety Malcolm Jenkins. Speaking to Sports Radio WIP’s Mike Quick and NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark after what turned into an 18-12 victory, Jenkins said the booing not only was a proper welcome back to the City of Brotherly Love, it actually kept them honest. Knowing the fans care and were watching provided the impetus to come back onto the field and make some explosive, as well as dramatic, plays. (One of them included a revised Philly Special.)
It’s a perfect lesson for Yom Kippur, which begins this coming Tuesday evening, Sept. 18. God, as it were, doesn’t boo when we fall short of the mark, but He’s always watching and will hold all of us accountable. In a way even more important is the fact that no matter what we do, our fellow man is watching.
A friend of mine once gave some advice to new parents thusly: Keep your windows open, and you’ll never yell at your kids. The fear of being noticed by the neighbors will prove too overwhelming that you’ll force yourself to always be pleasant.
It’s admittedly idealistic, but it helps explain the dichotomy between a person’s public versus her private behavior. In a similar vein, various Jewish works advise to behave in private with the same concern about being watched that you do in public. That way, you’ll never sin.
In the days before Yom Kippur, it’s customary to ask for forgiveness from those you’ve wronged, whether the slight was intentional or unintentional. On Yom Kippur itself, we atone for our misdeeds, against man, against God and against His creation.
In that spirit, I’d like to first ask for your forgiveness, on behalf of myself and on behalf of the Jewish Exponent, for any wrongs, real or perceived, we may be responsible for. We’re an award-winning news organization — we took home several top honors from the American Jewish Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, among other organizations, for reporting done in 2017 — but if we’ve fallen short of the mark in the past year, we’re sorry and will do better.
One of the things we’ve long believed is that the Exponent should tell the local stories that are important to the Jewish community and reflect the diversity of its members. In an industry where advertising revenues and increasing production costs have forced publications of all sizes to cut back on the size of their print offerings, that focus has frequently meant a deemphasizing of national and international news.
Not all of you have been happy with the shift, particularly as it relates to the percentage of Israel-related content in any week’s print edition.
But because we’ve been listening to you, we are no longer content to simply rely on our vibrant website, where much Israel news can be found, to fill the gap. That is why in the weeks and months ahead, we will be making a special emphasis to publish more Israeli news and Israel-related stories that have a Philly connection.
Sometimes fans can be the harshest critics. The Eagles know this. And we at the Exponent do as well. With this new editorial focus, I am confident that like the Eagles, we’ll be upping our game.
G’mar chatima tova!
Joshua Runyan is the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Exponent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.