February 1, 2015, - 5:59 pm

Tom Brady, Pats Owner Kraft Have Close Ties to Israel

By Debbie Schlussel

Well, despite my long-term criticism of New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, he does have one very redeeming quality: his ties to Israel. And it’s all due to Pats owner Bob Kraft and his late wife, Myra, strong supporters of Israel. Also, good to know that the Krafts promoted understanding and respect toward Christians and Christianity.

Tom Brady in Israel . . .

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Tom Brady & Pats Owner Bob Kraft w/ IDF Soldier Avi Sandler

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Tom Brady @ the Israel Museum

The commitment of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and his late wife Myra, to supporting Jewish causes in the United States and in Israel is apparent to all who have come to contact with them. . . . The Krafts turned their attention to philanthropy early on, giving more than $100 million to a range of causes. To promote Christian-Jewish understanding, their family foundation has endowed chairs in Jewish studies at Boston College and Holy Cross College, and a chair in Christian Studies at Brandeis University. At Kraft’s alma mater Columbia, they funded the Kraft Center for Jewish Living and the university’s athletic fields.

The Krafts have contributed to Israeli society and economy in a number of ways. They were instrumental in developing the sister city relationship between Haifa and Boston. Myra Kraft was especially interested in the fate of Israel’s Ethiopian community, and supported after-school and absorption program for Ethiopian immigrants to Israel. . . .







The Krafts also donated millions of dollars to build the Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem, where Israel’s flag and tackle football leagues play. In addition, Myra Kraft supported the Israeli women’s national flag football team. Robert Kraft’s business activity extends to Israel as well, including to Israel largest packaging plant, Carmel Container System, where he is the primary shareholder. But it was the annual trips to Israel where their connection to the country was most evident.

“Robert loves taking people to Israel,” said Barry Shrage, close friend of the family and president of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies. “Myra was completely in love with the country. Every stone, every rock, every tree. And she knew all their names. It was a way for her to express her intense feeling of love for the country. It was very important to her…She really was a beautiful person.” Even during the height of the Second Intifada, Myra led groups with hundreds of participants to Israel. She would make sure local shopkeepers stayed open late so she could take the groups to support in the struggling stores.

And it wasn’t only members of the Jewish community who toured the country with Myra. Before she passed away in 2011 after a bout with cancer, Myra Kraft used to take Patriots players to Israel regularly. “I remember sitting in the training room with her one day; we were both getting treatment, and she invited [my wife] Kirsten and I to Israel with her and Mr. Kraft,” former Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson told ESPN.com. . . .

It was the Krafts’ 2006 trip that still has Patriots fans in Israel buzzing. They brought superstar quarterback Tom Brady to the country for his first visit . . . . Participants on the trip say Brady was visibly moved by what he saw and experienced. Shrage remembers a Chabad rabbi who was close with Myra leading the group’s Friday night dinner. “Everyone started to dance, and Tom soon joined in. To see Tom Brady dancing in a circle with us, singing with us, that was really special. I think he was enormously moved.”

The Krafts took Brady to an IDF infantry base as well. Boston-born Netzach Yehuda battalion soldier Avi Sandler was in basic training in the Jordan Valley. He had just completed a week of field exercises and a forced march back to his base. He was told to put on his beret and report to the Deputy Company Commander’s office. “I was nervous, as at that point one only went to his office if he was in trouble,” said Sandler. “As I entered the office and saluted, I saw two other soldiers with American backgrounds already seated. We were told that a group of important Americans will be visiting the base tomorrow and that we were chosen to attend as representatives.”

Fellow soldier Label Garelik was sitting in his room when his sergeant came in, and told him that there were some Americans visiting who wanted to speak to soldiers who had moved to Israel from the US. “Some Robert Kraft or something.” The next morning, the soldiers were bused to the firing range, where a weapons demonstration was prepared for the visitors.

“Quietly, on the side, my friend says, ‘Avi, isn’t that Tom Brady?’” Sandler recalled. “Other than Mr. Kraft, we had no clue who was visiting. I responded, ‘It looks like him but what would he be doing here? We quickly turned to Brady and asked, ‘Are you Tom Brady? Yes,’ he responded. Our mouths dropped.” One of the soldiers asked Brady if he wanted to play football with them. “I don’t mix business and pleasure,” Brady joked.

The soldiers gave a demonstration of the various weapons lined up at the range. Brady exclaimed “Damn!” as the machines gun were firing. The Patriots quarterback even took some target practice at the base’s shooting range. “I was worried about the recoil,” Shrage recalled. “We certainly didn’t need Brady hurting his throwing shoulder shooting a rifle.” . . .

It’s not clear whether it was the trip that inspired Brady, but he keeps a large menorah in his Brookline home. “We’re not Jewish,” he told the New York Times last week. “But I think we’re into everything…I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”

Read the whole article to learn what happened when bodyguards for then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were faced with the Lombardi Trophy and saw it as a security risk.

It’s good to know that when it comes to the Jewish State and anti-Semitic Israel-boycotters, neither Robert Kraft nor Tom Brady has deflated balls.

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21 Responses

First winner is Robert Merril.
Stop with these idiots who do not know how to sing National anthem.

madman on February 1, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Pats just made TD!

PaulaMalka on February 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm

It would be great if the Super Bowl MVP would turn out to be the wide receiver I have affectionately dubbed “The Little Jew” amongst my friends, . . .

Julian Edelman.

I agree with madman. To me, Robert Merrill’s version is the ONLY version of the National Anthem.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on February 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Good stuff from the New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft being an Israel supporter and a Zionist.

My little antithesis with Israel being called the “Jewish State” is that I think it should be called the Democratic State (us on the humanistic end who are Israel supporters use that term, whereas those on the religious right-wing plethora of Zionism refer to Israel as the Jewish State); meaning that everyone in that country are currently equalled under Israeli law. But despite that, it’s called the Jewish State due to the population and not its government and laws!

Sean R. on February 1, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Nice to know!

Julian Edelman is of Jewish ancestry. Don’t know if he supports Israel.

My guess is that few of the Pats support the 2nd Amendment. That’s changing the subject so please feel free to ignore that thread.

There is NO Santa Claus on February 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm

And the Patriots won! Good on ’em!

Occam's Tool on February 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Edelman had 9 catches for 109 yards, and the game winning TD. Brady was nearly the goat, as his first interception stalled a drive near the end zone, and his second led to a Seahawks TD. Edelman for MVP.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on February 1, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Good article and good for Krafty McKraft. I don’t despise them anymore and am now glad they won.

DS_ROCKS! on February 1, 2015 at 11:15 pm

The Android got the MVP. I guess I can dig it, but no one will forget Julian Edelman, either for this game or season. He made their season the same way Wes Welker used to. There was a huge gap to fill when he left. Edelman with increased use has come in to his own, and Amendola, who originally didn’t quite work out, now appears to be coming on.

Coach Curmudgeon can now leave with four rings, and go enjoy his young girlfriend. Time to leave, Bill. It’s been “fun.” LOL!!!

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on February 1, 2015 at 11:25 pm

Interesting fact about Mr. Brady, which given Debbie’s past criticisms of other aspects about him would (it seems) make him the equivalent of a broken clock that tells the correct time once every 12 hours. Which leads to this question: Does anyone know his shrewish supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen’s stance on Israel?

ConcernedPatriot on February 2, 2015 at 12:12 am

“I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”

it’s great to see infuential americans having positive experiences on trips to israel… brady is upholding the traditional role model/pro athlete.

but his statement above- after being “visibly moved” while in israel, and the menorah in his home- really irritates me. a belief system? we’re talking about the one, true living God… the creator of the universe… and he makes some whimpy statement about belief systems and he doesn’t know what to think?!

kirche on February 2, 2015 at 8:28 am

Julian Edelman is Christian. He has one Jewish grandparent, and that is a paternal grandparent, not a maternal grandparent. He was raised as a Chrisian. Just because he has a Jewish sounding last name, does not make him Jewish. Barry Goldwater’s family was once Goldwasser. His parent(s) converted to Christianity. Does that make Barry Goldwater Jewish? No.

Sue on February 2, 2015 at 9:20 am

    So then, my Jewish DNA left my body the day I accepted Christ?

    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on February 2, 2015 at 10:47 am

Debbie,

Thanks for the info on Mr. Kraft – that the main stream media has total ignored. I’m sure that if Mr. Kraft was a big supporter of all things Muslim and pro-Palestinian, the media would be praising him for his “Good works” 24/7. Thanks, Debbie, for reporting this important and little known news about Mr. Kraft an Tom Brady. The media, of course, has had a running report on he latest (Drug overdose?) story in the Houston family. If the young lady (Sadly) passes, will Gov. Christie order the flags in N.J. flown at half staff……again? Thanks again for he the opening story on Kraft and Brady. You brought a large breath of fresh air into our fetid society.

Herb on February 2, 2015 at 10:35 am

Does anyone have a count as to how many little Brady babies there are now in Israel?

DJH on February 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm

One interesting development is the coming direct flight El Al is instituting between Boston and Tel Aviv. That’ll make Kraft’s trips far more convenient, and prove a boon to all those high-tech firms in the Boston area tied to Israel. (Netanyahu, when last in California, pushed for a similar direct line between San Francisco and Tel Aviv. Today, business travelers from Silicon Valley must go through Los Angeles.)

Raymond in DC on February 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Many years ago, when the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson was attempting to secure the Democrat Party’s nomination for President, I was invited to the Kraft’s home for a meet and greet with Senator Jackson. I found Mr. Kraft to be very friendly, but a somewhat quiet gentleman, and the late Mrs. Kraft to be a warm and gracious woman. At the time, I didn’t have a clue who the Kraft family were, as I lived about 120 miles from their home, and Al Gore hadn’t, as of yet, invented the Internet.
(For those who don’t recall, Senator Jackson was a strong advocate for a strong Israel and Soviet(Russian)Jewry’s right to leave the then Soviet Union.)

Neils60 on February 2, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Tom Brady and his family frequently attend our neighborhood church. It’s Catholic and in Santa Monica, CA. The pastor there can’t seem to get enough of him – even attended the SBowl, apparently.

The comment that Brady ‘doesn’t know what he believes’ is unsettling. Why is he bothering with church? Unless he and his family are, as I fear, just the new Schwarzenegger/Shrivers. And who needs any more of those? Yuck!

Isiswelch on February 3, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Well,I have a lot of fondness for Jews. I also like Israel,too. But,I’m not a big football fan,so this isn’t real big to me,anyway.

Ghostwriter on February 5, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Fuck you Debbie!

Constance on February 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm

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