Celebrating Hanukkah with Chicago’s ‘Bear Jew,’ Gabe Carimi

Maggie Hendricks

Hanukkah started at sundown on Tuesday. Jews around the world celebrated by lighting menorahs, saying prayers, and eating latkes. Among those celebrating over the eight-day holiday is Chicago Bear Gabe Carimi. He advised a Chicago food critic on what made a good latke.

Carimi is currently rehabbing an injured knee and recently learned he has to have a second knee surgery. Though he hasn't been able to contribute to Chicago on the field, he became a part of the community from the day he was drafted in April. He happily embraced the Jewish community in Chicago, giving himself the nickname "Bear Jew" and appearing at Jewish events. At one appearance, he served as an inspiration for young Jewish athletes.

"It shows that Jews are not just scrawny little people," an 11-year-old said. "Jews can go far [in sports]."

That is proven in the NFL. Carimi's teammate, punter Adam Podlesh, is also Jewish. More than a dozen Jews currently play in the league, including Antonio Garay and Sage Rosenfels. The Hall of Fame enshrined Jewish players Sid Luckman and Ron Mix.

To all of our Jewish readers, have a very Happy Hanukkah. If you want to share some latkes, we won't complain.