Super Bowl Sunday’s other trophy: the Golden Tallis

Bragging rights will be up for grabs this weekend when two Bay Area Jewish high schools clash on the basketball court in the Golden Tallis games.

The games are scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, and though the nation won’t be tuned in, the annual showdown between Palo Alto’s Kehillah Jewish High School and San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay usually draws a spirited, sizable crowd.

Jordan Kimel of JCHS dribbles with Nate Jacobi in pursuit on Jan. 25 in San Francisco. photo/ruth goldenberg

“It’s a friendly yet heated rivalry,” said senior Nate Jacobi, a co-captain for the Kehillah Rams.

“I’m excited to experience it for the first time,” added freshman Max Swan, a first-year player on the JCHS Wolves.

The games will be played at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. The girls’ contest will begin at 11 a.m. followed at 12:30 p.m. by the boys’ game.

At stake will be a pair of Golden Tallis trophies, one for the winning side in each game. The trophies stand 3 feet high and are wrapped with a golden tallis.

On the boys’ side, Kehillah has won three straight Golden Tallis games yet trails 5-3 in the overall series. JCHS has dominated the girls’ series, holding a 7-1 edge.

Since both schools are members of the Private Schools Athletic League, they play each other twice each season. As luck would have it, the first meeting was just last weekend in San Francisco: In the boys’ game, JCHS won 57-46; in the girls’ game, JCHS won 33-16.

All of the teams are under .500 in league play, but that doesn’t matter come Golden Tallis time.

“No matter how our season is going, we step on the court knowing we are going to put it all on the line,” said JCHS sophomore Oksana Chubrikova. “We come ready to play.”

“The Golden Tallis games mean that we have both collaboration and playful competition between two of the premier independent high schools in the Bay Area,” said Rabbi Howard Jacoby Ruben, head of school at JCHS. “The tallis itself links us to a shared tradition, and the basketball games link us to the value of helping our students learn and grow in the real world.”