He’s the man who brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl. He’s the Rocky-like underdog who fought his way back from the far reaches of the Philadelphia Eagles’ team facility after losing a power struggle to Chip Kelly. And he’s the precocious, NFL-obsessed law school graduate who once became the youngest general manager (34) in America’s most popular sports league.
Philadelphians know Howie Roseman. Jewish Philadelphians know him, too. He’s a tribe member. Literally: He belongs to Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley. But since Roseman doesn’t do many public events, his Judaism is not often on display.
Yet on July 20 at the Milton & Betty Katz JCC in Margate, New Jersey, it was. The Eagles’ general manager headlined the 8th Annual Jackie & Hank Herskowitz Sports Night. Inside the dining room, there were enough tables and chairs for about 300 people. By the time Roseman walked out on stage around 8:20 p.m., they were full. The evening raised money for JCC programs for the upcoming year, according to Katz officials.
In a conversation with the evening’s host, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Michael Barkann (also Jewish), Roseman talked about what the assembled Margate vacationers came to hear him discuss: football. He expounded on the change in his draft philosophy since 2020 (pick good college players over upside guys), the selection of franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts while the team still had another one, Carson Wentz, and the 2022 trade for Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown, among other topics.
The Eagles almost won the second Super Bowl of Roseman’s tenure a season ago. They lost to the Chiefs, 38-35, in the big game in February. So, this line of questioning from Barkann and selected audience members made sense. It also failed to address the deeper connection between Roseman and these fans: his Judaism.
Only one audience member, Steve Rosenberg, the board chair of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and a former Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia executive, asked the Philadelphia Jewish sports hall of famer about a Jewish issue. Rosenberg asked how Roseman could use his position to help Jews during a time of rising antisemitism.
The answer: “The best thing we can do is do our jobs really well and show people that we do our jobs really well. There’s not a lot of Jewish people in the National Football League. If I do my job really well, I think that reflects well on who I am and where I come from.”
The audience clapped.
“It was a good answer,” Rosenberg said after the event.
Privately, Roseman’s Judaism is essential to who he is, according to Brian Hymowitz, a chiropractor in Yardley and the GM’s best friend from childhood. The boys grew up together in Marlboro, New Jersey, and both ended up in the Philadelphia area.
At age 12 going on 13, they shared a bar mitzvah lesson slot with their cantor. Whoever wasn’t practicing would often chuckle at the student who was, Hymowitz recalled. But as the lessons went on, both boys started to take them seriously. Soon enough, they were competing for the cantor’s approval.
“I think there were some weeks when I had him. And there were some weeks when he had me. And we’d both let each other know about that,” Hymowitz said.
By the early 2000s, Roseman was working his way up on the football side of the Eagles’ organization and living in Old City. Hymowitz was a young chiropractor in Bucks County living in Center City. Since Roseman was married and had an order from his friend’s father to find a nice Jewish girl for his son, the future GM became a matchmaker. He created a JDate profile for his friend.
Roseman advised his friend to leave a picture out of his profile but to say he made a lot of money. For a young professional, it was not an inaccurate statement. A week later, Hymowitz opened his profile and saw 500 invitations. He scrolled down and saw a profile of a woman who described herself as having blue eyes.
Hymowitz called Roseman after their first date.
“Dude! I think I love this girl,” he said.
“Bri, relax,” Roseman answered.
The woman became his wife.
“He’s there when you need him,” Hymowitz said.
The old bros still play golf together once a week. Their families are friends. Hymowitz has three kids and Roseman has four.
At the recent bat mitzvah of Roseman’s daughter, the builder of Super Bowl teams got to just be a dad for a night. He watched his daughter “crush it on the bimah,” Hymowitz said. He did a father-daughter dance and gave a heartfelt speech.
“He loves the city. He loves the people. But his No. 1 priority is his family and friends,” Hymowitz said.