After his son’s Bar Mitzvah this Saturday, Avi Esses will get ready for Super Bowl XLVI. The New York resident and ardent Giants fan is headed to Indianapolis Sunday morning with his sons, Nafti, 16, Leo, 15, and Eli, 13, for the big game. When he found out they’d be going – somewhere between winning two tickets at a Chinese auction and buying an extra set so all three boys could come – he did the next logical thing. He connected with what has become the contest’s unofficial Chabad-Lubavitch center.

Esses wants his sons to learn that no matter where they go, they should find a group of Jewish men to prayer with and some kosher food to eat.

“Just because you’re out of town doesn’t mean that you don’t have to follow through with everything,” he explains. “And I like to demonstrate that lesson: You can find a minyan if you look hard enough. You can find kosher food. And it’s not as hard as it might seem.”

For the Super Bowl crowd, Rabbi Avrohom Grossbaum of Lubavitch of Indiana and a dedicated team of volunteers will host a giant kosher tailgate party, complete with chili and all the fixings, for Jewish fans. He started getting calls from people throughout the United States and abroad several months ago, and has even enlisted the help of a local caterer so that people can pre-order kosher food for their weekend Super Bowl events.

“It’s going to be a great thing for the kids to see,” says Esses.

The Indianapolis Jewish community has been excited about the event since it found out the city would host the Super Bowl a few years back. With an expected 100,000 to 150,000 guest coming in, the showdown between the Giants and the New England Patriots will trump the Indianapolis 500 in terms of crowds.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents tour the vicinity around the site of Super Bowl XLVI. (Photo: CBP/Brian Bell)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents tour the vicinity around the site of Super Bowl XLVI. (Photo: CBP/Brian Bell)

“This has gotten much more interest from people who want to come to the game,” says Grossbaum.

Jeffrey Silver, who owns a company called Silver Crystal Sports, will be heading down from Toronto to work at the event, providing customized jerseys with his lettering and numbering equipment. He was looking online to see what kinds of kosher possibilities were in the area, and soon found himself in contact with Grossbaum.

“We’ve been in touch since then,” he says, adding that he’s interested to see what kind of kosher meat the rabbi comes up with for the all-you-can-eat buffet at the tailgate party.

He forwarded the details of the party to friends, and hopes to see a few people he knows at the event. With large Jewish communities in New York and Boston, he expects to see strong interest in the tailgating event and at the Chabad House.

Says Silver: “I’m interested to see how many people are in the same kind of boat that will be down in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.”