Sports

Three Tucsonans to compete on Team USA at Maccabiah Games in Israel

Sam Beskind of Catalina Foothills High School drives to the basket against Walden Grove High School, Jan. 12, 2017. [Courtesy Beskind)

Three young Jewish athletes from Tucson will compete in the elite Maccabiah Games in Israel. Held every four years, the games are the world’s third-largest international sporting event, with more than 9,000 athletes from over 80 countries. Sam Beskind, Tamara Statman and Brett Miller will be part of Team… Read more »

This women’s sport you’ve never heard of is taking Israel by storm

A match at the Israeli catchball tournament in Kfar Saba, Feb. 21, 2017. (Courtesy of the Israel Catchball Association)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – Every week, thousands of women across Israel gather to play a sport almost no one outside the country has heard of. For that matter, few Israelis knew about catchball – or “cadur-reshet” in Hebrew — a decade ago. But in recent years it has become… Read more »

Wildcat coach to speak at Hillel alumni pre-game dinner

Joe Pasternack (University of Arizona)

The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation will host its annual alumni and friends event on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 5:15 p.m. The evening will feature Joe Pasternack, UA associate head basketball coach under Coach Sean Miller, who will brief attendees on this year’s Wildcat team. His talk will be… Read more »

Israel’s World Baseball Classic team expects to feel at home playing in Brooklyn

For Josh Zeid, a pitcher for Israel’s World Baseball Classic team (shown here when he played for the Houston Astros), “there’s a little bit of excitement to get back and try to win it this time.” (Hillel Kuttler)

(JTA) – What is likely the strongest squad of Jewish players ever assembled figures to have a home-field advantage, too, as Team Israel aims to reach the next round of the World Baseball Classic. The club’s roster for the qualifying tournament includes nine major league veterans of recent seasons,… Read more »

Which Major League Baseball team is the most ‘Jewish’?

Addison Russell, left, with Cubs teammate Kris Bryant during the fifth inning of a game against the Padres at Petco Park in San Diego, Aug. 23, 2016. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(JTA) — October marks the beginning of a new year, a time of fresh starts and second chances — and playoff baseball, the climax of a summer of (we still insist) American Jewry’s favorite sport. But if Jews and baseball go together like peanuts and Cracker Jacks (Jewish immigrants found America “in baseball,”… Read more »

Minnesota Vikings’ owner thinks big with new stadium and Holocaust philanthropy

Mark Wilf, a co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, at the team's gigantic Nordic horn in its new $1.1 billion stadium. (Hillel Kuttler)

MINNEAPOLIS (JTA) – Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stepped up to an 800-pound gjallarhorn and exhaled with all he had to launch the festivities  that officially inaugurated the team’s $1.1 billion stadium. Music lovers would have found the deep, uneven sound revolting, but the Nordic instrument is plenty… Read more »

From matzo balls to footballs, two Jewish brothers recall their journey to the NFL

Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923.(Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz)

  KANSAS CITY, Mo. (JTA) – At 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, veteran NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz isn’t just a force of nature, but a product of good ol’ Jewish nurture. “My size comes from a childhood that included an excess of matzo ball soup, latkes, and tons of… Read more »

3 baseball books from some veteran Jewish observers of the game

Baseball writer Dan Schlossberg, left, with the former Atlanta Brave and Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz. (Courtesy of Dan Schlossberg)

(JTA) – For many, summer is all about the three B’s: baseball, beaches and books. With the weather and pennant races sizzling, two journalists and the mayor of baseball’s mythical home village of Cooperstown, New York — all Jewish — have provided their takes about a sport that has… Read more »

At 80, a Munich Olympics and Holocaust survivor is still the sportsman

Shaul Ladany in his suburban Beersheba home with a prized piece of his Theodor Herzl collection, left. (Hillel Kuttler)

  OMER, Israel (JTA) – Shaul Ladany, a two-time Olympian, acknowledged that he was “very happy” that the International Olympic Committee finally held an official memorial for the 11 Israelis who were killed in a terrorist raid at the 1972 Munich games. But Ladany, an Israeli racewalker who still… Read more »

Aly Raisman wins silver medal in Olympic gymnastics all-around

Aly Raisman competing in the floor exercise at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 24, 2015. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Aly Raisman won the Olympic silver medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around in Rio de Janeiro. The Jewish competitor from Needham, Massachusetts, finished second behind her American teammate Simon Biles on Thursday. Raisman, 22, is the U.S. squad’s captain and was a key part of its gold medal… Read more »

Despite silver medal at JCC Maccabi Games, Tucson boys put emphasis on fun

Tucson Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games participants and friends (in white and turquoise T-shirts) play with special needs campers in Columbus, Ohio. Back row (L-R): Oren Riback (delegation head), Max Silverman, Zach Giles, Dimitri Rally (Palo Alto), Zamy (Jake) Zwinger, Jake Blumenthal, Adam Rudy (Louisville). Front: Avin Kreisler, Matthew Gurovich (Palo Alto) and Henry Abrams. Dakota Kordsiemon (basketball coach) is kneeling on the right. (Courtesy Oren Riback)

Thirteen teen athletes represented the Tucson Jewish Community Center at the JCC Maccabi Games in Columbus, Ohio, July 24-29. It was Tucson’s return to the games after a three-year absence due to scheduling conflicts with local schools’ early start dates. Despite the lag, the Tucson boys’ basketball team members… Read more »

With Amar’e Stoudemire’s help, Jerusalem looks to overtake Tel Aviv as Israel’s basketball capital

Amar'e Stoudemire is surrounded by young fans at his youth basketball camp in Jerusalem, Aug. 8, 2016. (Andrew Tobin)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Jerusalem basketball fans know that when the owner of their team tweets a smiley face, the signing of a new player is about to be announced. The day before Amar’e Stoudemire made the surprise announcement that he would be leaving the NBA to play for Hapoel… Read more »

From LA to Israel: One swimmer’s journey to the Rio Olympics

Andrea Murez recalls Israelis telling her at the 2013 Maccabiah Games that she should swim for Israel -- and now she is. (Hillel Kuttler)

NETANYA, Israel (JTA) – Andrea Murez steps on the diving board, adjusts her goggles, swings her long arms and propels herself into the water at the Wingate Institute athletic complex here. Murez is training with a dozen other swimmers. She is the one preparing for the Summer Olympics a… Read more »

2016 Olympics: 7 Jewish American Olympians to watch in Rio

Aly Raisman competes in the floor exercise at the 2016 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Trials in San Jose, Calif., July 10, 2016. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(JTA) — There are athletes, and then there are Olympic athletes. And then there are Jewish Olympic athletes. When the 2016 Summer Olympics open Friday, we’ll of course be cheering the American athletes — all 555 of them — and we’ll be rooting for Israel, too, which this year is… Read more »

2016 Olympics: Israel’s largest-ever delegation is ready for Rio

Israeli gymast Neta Rivkin competes in the women's rhythmic gymnastics all-around individual final at the Baku 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, June 19, 2015, is one of Israel's best hopes to medal. (David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)

  RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – When the 2016 Olympic Games open here on Friday evening, Israel will proudly show off its largest delegation ever, with 47 athletes competing in 17 sports. Among them are golfer Laetitia Beck, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor; Lonah Chemtai, a Kenyan-born marathoner, and Ron Darmon, the first triathlete to represent… Read more »

A 12-year-old hurler always walks on Shabbat, so his teammates pitch in

Jacob Steinmetz, back row, second from right, and his Brooklyn Bluestorm teammates are headed to the Elite World Series in Florida after going 24-0 this season. (Hillel Kuttler)

NEW YORK (JTA) – Jacob Steinmetz delivers the game’s final pitch on a heavenly Tuesday night, producing a neatly turned double play to wrap up a 10-0 victory for the Brooklyn Bluestorm team of 12-year-olds. His teammates surround Jacob in congratulations in a scene familiar for the Bluestorm, which… Read more »

Jewish ex-major leaguer trying to get back to baseball’s big show

Nate Freiman at bat for the Portland Sea Dogs in a game against the Harrisburg Senators in Pennsylvania, May 2016. (Hillel Kuttler)

  HARRISBURG, Pa. (JTA) – Taking a seat on the dugout bench of the Portland Sea Dogs, Nate Freiman politely dismisses the premise that he pines to return to the major leagues. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism now that he’s two seasons and three organizations removed from his last… Read more »