Two years ago, Jeff Spitzer-Resnick says he politely pointed out that a Madison Area Youth Soccer Association event conflicted with Yom Kippur. This year, when the same fall event was set for Sept. 18-20, overlapping with another Jewish High Holy day, Rosh Hashana, he was not polite.
"I now consider it anti-Semitic," says Spitzer-Resnick, a Madison attorney. "This is the equivalent for Christians of scheduling an event on Christmas or Easter."
While the hue and cry he's raised has not prompted MAYSA to change the date of its annual Toe Bash, played in Verona, Spitzer-Resnick is claiming a victory of sorts. His son's team is declining to participate. Moreover, he says, "I have received many supportive emails, including one from a professional colleague who was once kicked out of her high school marching band for refusing to perform on Rosh Hashana. She and many others, both Jews and non-Jews, were thrilled that I was taking this issue on."
MAYSA, predictably, is less so. Executive director Chris Lay says there was no attempt to offend, just a logistical need to schedule the event, as usual, on the third weekend in September.
"The accusations here are discouraging and saddening," says Lay. The Toe Bash is not a qualifying tournament, and participation is voluntary; plus, a "multitude of other soccer groups across the country" are holding events this same weekend. He's not heard complaints from others and doesn't know if other teams are not participating because of the conflict.
Interestingly, both Lay and Spitzer-Resnick say they spoke to Steve Morrison of the Madison Jewish Community Council, who expressed his support for their positions. Morrison ducked Isthmus' attempts to get his perspective.