Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl: Dedicated to Finding Common Ground
Join host Yael Eckstein as she welcomes college basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who has led the Auburn Tigers to 154 wins, three Southeastern Conference championships, consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, and the program’s first ever appearance in the Final Four in 2019. While his success on the basketball court is well-documented, what might not be as well-known is his absolute dedication and love for Israel and her people. On the podcast, Yael and Coach Pearl discuss how important his Jewish faith is in his career, how his love for Israel has inspired him throughout his lifetime, and the importance of finding common ground and joining together as people of faith. Don’t miss this inspiring Conversation!
As a young Jewish boy growing up in Boston, Bruce Pearl remembers one pivotal moment in his childhood that showed him how important Israel is to the Jewish people. One day, he noticed something he’d never seen before—his grandfather was crying while watching the news. “It was 1967, I was seven years old and my papa was watching TV after supper. He never watched television. He never stayed up much past supper, and I never saw him cry,” Coach Pearl tells Yael.
His grandfather put his young grandson up on his knee, and together they watched the small black and white TV as the events of the Six-Day War between Israel and her enemies unfolded. His grandfather explained to him about the importance of Israel and told his grandson he was worried about going to sleep that night. “He said, ‘I can’t go to sleep because I’m afraid that when I wake up Israel won’t be there’ and he told me how important Israel was to him,” Coach Pearl shares with Yael.
This moment influenced Coach Pearl for the rest his life, and his grandfather’s words are something he’s always carried with him. Today, Coach Pearl knows how important it is to educate the world about all the good Israel is doing each day and has dedicated himself to supporting Israel and her people.
In today’s episode, he and host Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, talk about their love of Israel, how to pass on their faith to future generations, and the importance of uniting in faith—whether you are Christian or Jewish.
Today, Coach Pearl has spoken on behalf of the State of Israel before such significant groups as AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — the Republican Jewish Alliance, the Christian Coalition, and the United States Israel Education Association.
On the Auburn campus, Coach Pearl is very much involved in the Student Jewish Group, hosting the annual Hanukkah party for Jewish students through Hillel, as well as hosting regular breakfasts to help Jewish students keep their faith active.
And just this past summer, Coach Pearl brought his entire Auburn basketball team to the Holy Land for a tour! As Coach Pearl explained, once his students witnessed the diversity of the people there and their love for their country, his students were able to see for themselves the truth about Israel. “What they do with that knowledge is up to them,” he says.
Listen now to Conversations with Yael to hear this important and insightful dialogue between podcast host Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl.