Holy Mount Zion, a soccer team in England's all-Jewish Maccabi Southern Football League, has been suspended from league play for, it seems, fielding non-Jewish players and pretending they were Jews. The team had apparently been under suspicion for some time, and was asked by the league to "provide proof" that all its players were, in fact Jewish; they were ultimately done in by a Facebook photo in which supposed Jews "Danny Potter" and "Simon Laub" were tagged as—and revealed as—"Mariusz Mielniczuk, a Polish-born personal trainer, and Javier Guevara, a banker who had previously studied and worked in Bogota." (A referee had previously suspected something was up when players called "Danny" "Mariusz" on field, and also when "Danny" didn't know his own birthday.) The manager has admitted to the ruse, but questions remain, The Jewish Chronicle reports:
It is still not known who is or is not Jewish among the HMZ squad. Four of the ten have been able to provide proof but the six others include players from Colombia, Poland and Italy.
Apart from Mr Mielniczuk, who we were told was in Cuba on holiday, only one spoke to us: Luigi Minale, a 28-year-old university researcher from Milan. He said he was Jewish, but would not comment further. The others include Jaime Augusto, Millan Quijano, a colleague of Mr Minale at University College London. Mr Quijano grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to London in 2007. Others were midfielder Guri Singer and Andrés Tamayo.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, "gosh, does this ever bring up fascinating and frequently-debated questions of identity, religion, practice, ethnicity, etc., such as, for example, what would it mean to prove one's Jewishness; is Judaism a religious practice or belief, or an ethnicity; in what sense could one say that, for example, Amar'e Stoudemire is Jewish, and would Stoudemire be allowed to play in a Jewish basketball league, and so on." You may also be wondering why manager Rob Lerner would engage in such trickery; he told the Chronicle "I didn't have much choice. I had to, it is the only way I could get a team out."