Some Georgia football fans will not be joining fellow Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium for G-Day this year because Passover, a Jewish holiday, begins the night before the annual scrimmage.
Josh Nooromid, a junior finance major from Dunwoody, said he will be at home to help his mother cook Passover dinner on April 20.
“I was looking forward to seeing Jake Fromm … and if he’s gotten better over the summer,” Nooromid said. “But I can’t.”
Nooromid would attend the spring game “without question” if the game did not conflict with the holiday.
But April 20 “was the only viable option” for the game because of “calendar issues” with spring break and the last day of classes, University of Georgia Director of Athletics Greg McGarity said in an email to The Red & Black. The timing of the game should not interfere with the holiday's traditional evening meal, McGarity said.
“We did assure that the game kickoff would be no later than 2 p.m. with a two-hour window for the SEC Network telecast,” McGarity said.
UGA faced backlash for a similar conflict in 2016, when NEEDTOBREATHE, a band known in part for its Christian rock music, was scheduled to headline the homecoming concert on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday.
Rabbi and Co-director Michoel Refson of Chabad at UGA, a Jewish student group, said the UGA administration has been careful to avoid scheduling events on “major Jewish holidays” since the 2016 incident. He said students will be able to celebrate both G-Day and Passover, but for him, religious tradition takes precedence over football.
“Obviously being a Bulldog Rabbi, I feel that Passover comes first and Bulldog comes second,” Refson said.
Hillel UGA, another Jewish student group, has invited football fans to Seder, a religious feast, after the game. The group hopes students and parents will visit the Hillel house to celebrate Passover, Director Roey Shoshan said.
Seder happens during the evenings, so Chabad Student President Eli Shankman said students can attend G-Day festivities without interfering with their religious practices.
“In my eyes, there isn’t much of an issue at all,” Shankman said.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Michoel Refson's name. The error has been corrected.