The list of Division I, Orthodox Jewish college basketball players is short — precisely three names long. The most recent addition to the club, 6-foot-10-inch Aaron Liberman, is now a freshman at Northwestern, where he is a preferred walk-on.
As he’s not following a well-trodden path, Liberman will certainly need spiritual guidance through his quest at Northwestern.
Surely, he’ll be very grateful for the 10 amended commandments agreed upon by the God of Judaism and the God of Basketball:
1) Thou shalt have no other gods but us two. If Koufax stops by, he will of course be permitted as a temporary third.
2) You must not make for yourself an idol, unless he be Amar’e Stoudemire.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, nor shalt you mention him at more than 25 percent of postgame press conferences.
4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: Eat kosher, don’t touch elevator buttons and cut backdoor.
5) Honor thy father (go to law school after you’re done throwing the ball at the hoop, mishugina) and thy mother (how many times do I have to tell you to comb your hair under your kippah?)
6) Thou shalt not kill a team by more than 20 points — be a mensch.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery, because thou shalt not wish to. Matchmaking is our specialty. Who do you think told LeBron to go to the Heat?
8) This was a toughie. After serious conferring, we have determined that thou shalt be able to steal. Low-risk defense is for gentiles.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor: Take responsibility for your turnovers.
10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor shalt thou declare that she tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.