Home » Anthony Frosh, The Lighter Side

Jewish St Kilda Football Club Heretics

September 22, 2009 – 12:05 pm18 Comments
Exhibit A

Exhibit A

By Anthony Frosh

It’s an unfortunate happenstance that the Jewish High Holidays frequently coincide with the AFL finals. I am ‘fortunate’ enough this year to be supporting a team that failed to qualify for the finals, and thus am not faced with the temptation to compromise my observance of the yomtovim with the thrills of observing a blockbuster football game.

But even with my team (the West Coast Eagles) finishing at the wrong end of the ladder, as I arrive in shul and open my machzor to see the Birchat Ha-Shachar (lit: Blessings of the Dawn) section, which my Birnbaum Machzor uninspiringly translates as Preliminary Morning Service, I can’t help but wonder “Who won last night’s preliminary final?”

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Invariably, I will only need to scan the other congregants to find my answer. Without fail, someone who supports the victorious team will be there, silently gloating, adorned with a scarf (or worse, a kippah) with their team’s colours and emblem. This Rosh Hashonah has been particularly bad. With the success of St Kilda, I’ve seen several men wearing kippot with a most inappropriate emblem. For those unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, the St Kilda emblem is essentially a shield that features a big cross on it (see Exhibit A).

That’s right, a kippah with a big cross on it is now what passes for Jewish head covering. Even worse, the style of this shield is heavily reminiscent of the Crusaders’ shields. To quote Bob Marley, “If you know your history, Then you would know where you’re coming from.” Time does not permit a history lesson here, but suffice to say, the Crusades (to quote Wikipedia) “became a part of the history of anti-Semitism.”

Now I’m sure there’s many Jewish St Kilda Football Club supporters reading this now (some of them adorned with crosses) and saying to themselves, “He’s just bitter because his team didn’t make the finals.” Now, I’d be lying if I said that bitterness wasn’t the primary motivation behind this article. However, as a secondary concern, I would like to help Jewish St Kilda FC supporters to find a more appropriate symbol to adorn their regalia.

We all know that St Kilda FC’s moniker is the Saints; the closest Jewish equivalent to saints are tsadikim (righteous ones). From now on, Jewish St Kilda supporters could call themselves the St Kilda Tsadikim. They could remove the crusader’s cross from their emblem, and replace it with the letter tsadik (see Exhibit B).

So there it is, I’ve found a way for Jewish St Kilda supporters to support their club at shule in a less offensive and heretical manner. Now please, if you are going to write in and tell me that I shouldn’t be wearing West Coast paraphernalia because the eagle isn’t a kosher bird, you would do well to save your keystrokes. I don’t subscribe to that.

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  • Larry Stillman says:

    Just wait until the AFL legals get onto you for this breach of copywright!! :).

    In any case, the letter tzadi won’t get you off, because is it the first letter of tz’lav–cross, and of course, tzalban–crusader…

    Hasidism might be a better for ‘saint’ (het), which would appeal more to a certain constituency.

    The St Kilda ‘hets’, but then, het with a tet is a sin–St Kilda sinners, which also appeals to another constituency…but then, ‘al het’ is also appropriate for believers at this time of the year.

  • ariel says:

    I wanted to buy a kippa with the emblem of my favourite European football team emblazoned on it. The emblem comprises a cross and I was told it’s problematic to wear such a kippa, especially in shule.

    Funnily enough, the team colours are the same as St Kilda’s and I don’t have any clothes that would go with black and red…

  • Wouldn’t the closest Jewish thing to a saint be an angel? That would make them the St Kilda malachim (not to be confused with the NBL team the Sydney melachim-Kings). Now we just have to translate that latin slogan into Hebrew …

    As chazan on Simchat Torah eve in our shul, I have a custom of singing kadish to the tune of the AFL premier.

  • frosh says:

    Hi Larry,

    With regard to copyright, we’re quite sure our use of the St Kilda logo falls under teh category of “fair-use.”
    Neverthless, interesting idea on another alternative symbol.


    Is that AC Milan?

  • ariel says:

    Forza Milan!

  • Chook says:

    David, if that is the case I’ll be attending to hear you sing to the tune of “When The Saints Come Marching In”, so start practising.

  • I’m looking forward to it. If Collingwood are ever a contender, I may have to make a specific mention in hatarat nedarim (nullification of vows) on Erev RH so I can discontinue this custom. On second thoughts, that probably will never be required!

  • frosh says:

    Hi David,

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding Catholic theology (or Jewish theology for that matter), but saints are once living people who (posthumously) are anointed as Saints for the deeds they are deemed to have done while alive. As I understand it, Angels are not necessarily based on famous living human beings.

    If time (and graphical skills) had permitted, I was going to remove the Latin slogan and replace it with Hebrew lettering

    … something like “Chazak v’ Ne’emanut”
    … or perhaps “Koach v’ Emet.”

  • Saints are beatified after they are dead, and there is evidence that they have performed miracles after being prayed to by humans.

    Angels are only rarely based on humans, such as Elijah. We do mention angels in some prayers, and they act as advocates on our behalf. So I think they are the closest thing we have to saints.

  • Of course to complete the “kosherisation”, you’d also have to change it from St Kilda to S. Kilda :)

  • Stuart says:

    1. Obviously the letter Tzadi can stand for many things, but given that the word Tzadi itself is 5/6 of Tzadik, and that this letter is also sometimes called Tzaddik, Tzaddik would have to be the most likely word it would stand for.

    2. Chassidic Rebbes are often described as Saints, or Tsaddikim, so I think it would be appropriate to refer to the team’s coach as the Kilderer Rebbe (unless that title has already been appropriated by the Chief Minister of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation).

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Wikipedia, which is infallible, contains the observation that the island of St Kilda may be derived from from Norse sunt kelda (“sweet wellwater”) — ie it should be the Mayanim or Mayim Metokim, but that sounds a bit wet (or the double Mems).

    For my take on a logo, with an appropriate motto, see http://larryjhs.fastmail.fm/stkilda/

  • Larry,

    Watch out – you might get sued by Mt Scopus! :)

  • frosh says:


    I love your graphical work!

    Should you get sued by Mt Scopus, Galus Australis will be willing to spear-head the campaign to raise funds for your legal defence :-)

  • Streimelah says:

    David Werdiger writes, “As chazan on Simchat Torah eve in our shul, I have a custom of singing kadish to the tune of the AFL premier”

    Gevald! Your hashkafas really stink!

  • Streimelah,

    Thank you for your kind and insightful comment. Consider yourself pre-forgiven for YK.

    Don’t you ever let your shtreimel down? You are most welcome to join us for Simchat Torah.

  • BigbazZ says:

    I am waiting for you I sing kaddish with the amens being yellow and black amen

  • Neil says:

    What more could you expect from a Sandgroper, complete and utter drivel from Frosh.

    This cross like symbol is a relatively new symbol, previously it was a cartoon figure shape and before that a seagull.

    There is no saint called Kilda. Kilda is an island in the UK.

    The “Lady of St Kilda” was a merchant vessel that visited Melbourne in the 1800’s, stayed for a considerable time moored where the St Kilda pier is now. The suburb was subsequently named after her. The “Lady of St Kilda” had a red and white hull with a black boot top. It is reasonable to assume that St Kilda colours of red, white and black derived from her. Coincidentally, the Island of Kilda in the outer Hebrides is home to millions of Puffin birds, whose colouring is red, white and black. Furthermore, when the island of Kilda was forcibly depopulated, many former inhabitants emigrated to the Colony of Victoria and settled around the area of St Kilda.

    Many jews lived in the St Kilda area and being knowledgeable realised the St Kilda colours are Levitical. Moshe himself, would have barracked for St Kilda.

    Is it not almost biblical that the only Grand Final won by St Kilda was on Yom Kippur!
    Kicking a leather football around is far better and obviously more pleasing than the cruelty to one of Hashem’s creatures in the ridiculous and ‘pagan’ ritual of Kaparot.

    Carn!!! St Kilda – The RED, WHITE & BLACK is a real jews colours, not some pathetic royal blue white and yella bird from the West.

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