Touchdown, Israel! with Bruce Smith

by | Oct 20, 2017 | What’s Happening

Monday Oct. 30, 7:30 pm, Sandler Family Campus

While being a Pro Football Hall of Famer comes with many perks, Bruce Smith had a different kind of opportunity when he traveled to Israel with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in June.

Born and raised in Norfolk, Smith fell in love with football after a friend encouraged him to join the junior varsity team at Booker T. Washington High School. From there, Smith went on to become one of football’s greatest legends. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and into the College Football Hall of Fame as a Virginia Tech Hokie in 2006. In his first year of eligibility, the former Buffalo Bill was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Smith holds the NFL career record for quarterback sacks with 200.

Along with his wife Carmen, Smith and 18 other Hall of Famers were part of a goodwill mission, led by Kraft, to spread American Football in Israel with the opening of the Kraft Family Sports Complex in Jerusalem. Kraft took the trip participants to many holy biblical sights including the Kotel (the Western Wall), the Jordan River (where Jesus is believed to have been baptized), and to meet with leaders from the region, including some from the West Bank and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After returning from Israel, Smith said, “it was very enlightening and moving to discover that while fiercely proud of, and faithful to their own heritage and traditions, the Jewish people are so humbly respectful of the Christian and Muslim faiths that also abide in the sacred region.”

Smith will share his personal stories of the people he met, sites he toured, and football played in the land of Israel, when he speaks at the Sandler Family Campus.

Joel Rubin, chairman of the board of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, will moderate the conversation with Smith. Questions will be taken, time permitting.

For more information or to RSVP (required) visit or contact Melissa Eichelbaum at or 321-2304.

Melissa Eichelbaum