JTA — During the Super Bowl Sunday night, many Jews across the country no doubt had the same question: Is Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman Jewish?
Edelman had an excellent game Sunday night, catching nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in New England’s dramatic comeback victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He also happens to have a Jewish-sounding name. But is he actually a member of the tribe?
While his father has Ashkenazi roots, this is what Edelman had to say on the topic on a media day before his previous Super Bowl appearance with the Patriots in 2012:
“Well, I’m not completely Jewish, if you know what I mean. I know people want me to be. My father is Jewish. My mother isn’t. I’ve been asked this before. I guess you could say I’m kind of Jewish but not really.”
For the record, while traditional Jews believe one must have a Jewish mother or convert in order to be considered Jewish, both Reform and Reconstructionist Jews recognize patrilineal descent.