U.S. Rummikub champ Josh Morof of West Bloomfield in Jerusalem for the international championship.
U.S. Rummikub champ Josh Morof of West Bloomfield in Jerusalem for the international championship.

West Bloomfield resident finds the game unites people.

 Josh Morof

Special to the Jewish News

Ever since I was a young kid, I have been playing Rummikub with family and friends. While I’ve always thought of Rummikub as a Jewish game and, in fact, it was created by a Jewish Romanian man in the 1950s, it has been incredible to see how loved the game is by so many around the globe.

It has been so special to see pictures of Rummikub tournaments with hundreds of players going on in so many countries, and I look forward to meeting the champions of the other 32 nations competing in the 10th Annual World Rummikub Championship this weekend in Jerusalem. It is beautiful to think that this game can be played and cherished by those across all ages, languages and countries.

While becoming the U.S. national champion of the game is an incredible and unique experience, as a Jew, I feel especially fortunate to be a representative in this competition. Getting to play this tournament in Israel, where the game became popular and the holy land of so many, makes it even more special.

While there may not be anything inherently Jewish about a game with 64 colored tiles that you move around a table, I can’t think of anything more Jewish than playing the game of Rummikub. Just like Shabbat dinner or Passover seder, playing the game is a special time to join together with friends and family without any other distractions. Just like at any Jewish gathering, it is an opportunity to argue endlessly while somehow becoming closer and better for it. But, most importantly, even though you can’t all win every game, it is a chance to spend time with those you love, and there is nothing more Jewish than that.

In a time where deep hatred for “the other” affects all global citizens and, most recently, has target the American Jewish community, I feel honored be able to come together across differences and play a game we all love. I am proud to represent both the United States and the Jewish people in this tournament.

Josh Morof is from West Bloomfield and is a second-year medical student at Wayne State University.