Jewish football fans are well aware at this point that Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots NFL team, is a Jew. A philanthropist and a businessman from an Orthodox family, Kraft has funded a professorship at Brandeis and supported football teams in Israel. The Hillel building at Columbia University bears his family name.
But as we head into Super Bowl weekend 2018, what about Eagles owner and CEO Jeff Lurie?
Like Kraft, Lurie is from a Massachusetts-area Jewish family.
Lurie got his doctorate from Brandeis University. He wrote his thesis on the way female characters are depicted in Hollywood. His original idea for a topic, “the politics of intimacy,” was deemed too broad. Reflecting on it in a 2017 interview, Lurie asked, “Are we organizing societies to maximize people’s fulfillment of the need for intimacy?” He added, “We have kind of a patriarchal system.” Remember, this is the over-60-year-old white, male, billionaire owner of a major football team.
Lurie bought the Eagles in 1994 for $185 million. The team is now worth $2.5 billion.
Lurie’s ex-wife, Christina Weiss Lurie, is a minority owner of the Eagles and an Oscar-winning movie producer who has helped push the Eagles to focus on philanthropy and service.
Lurie’s brother is autistic and was not able to use language until his thirties. Lurie has provided major funding for autism research personally and through the Eagles, and has personally studied the disease.
Lurie makes annual visits to his father’s grave at Temple Israel Cemetery, where he prays and speaks with his father, who died when Lurie was 9 years-old. They mostly talk about love and sports.
He is the longest owner of the Eagles in team history, and he has the best ownership record of any owner.
Lurie had a cameo in the classic sports movie “Jerry Maguire.” His one line? “We gotta win Superbowls.”
Jerry Maguire on AMC. Forgot about Jeffrey Lurie cameo: “We gotta win Super Bowls,” he says to Jerry at beginning of film. #lifeimitatesart— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 3, 2013
Jeff Lurie, best of luck to you and your team. You’ve managed to steal our hearts, even though you’re a billionaire sports person.
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny