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Dean Kremer says Israel will be ‘in the back of my head’ as he becomes first Israeli to start MLB playoff game

(JTA) — When pitcher Dean Kremer takes the mound for his Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night, it will no doubt be the biggest start of the 27-year-old’s young MLB career.

The Orioles are down two games to none in a best-of-five series against the Texas Rangers. A win Tuesday will extend the series; a loss ends Baltimore’s impressive season, in which they won an American League-best 101 games. The game will be Kremer’s first postseason appearance.

But the pressure doesn’t end there. Kremer is also likely the first Israeli to play in an MLB playoff game, a distinction he will earn against the backdrop of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas, which launched a surprise attack over the weekend that has led to more than 1,000 deaths, including 11 Americans.

Kremer became the first Israeli drafted into the big leagues in 2015 when he was selected by the San Diego Padres. The right-hander elected to play another year in college before being drafted again the following year by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would later be traded to Baltimore in a deal that included superstar third baseman Manny Machado. He became the first Israeli to pitch in the MLB when he made his debut in 2020.

(Recently retired catcher and fellow Team Israel alum Ryan Lavarnway became the first Israeli citizen to appear in a game after he obtained his citizenship ahead of the 2020 Olympics.)

Kremer was born and raised in Stockton, California, to Israeli parents, and he holds dual citizenship. Kremer is fluent in Hebrew and spends time each year in Israel, where much of his extended family lives. He has played for Team Israel numerous times, including in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

“Playing for Team Israel, anytime I get to put on that uniform is special for me,” Kremer said in March, after starting Team Israel’s lone tournament win over Nicaragua. “It’s like another home. So every time I get to represent it’s one of the better feelings.”

Dean Kremer pitches against Nicaragua in Israel’s first game of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, March 12, 2023, in Miami. (Courtesy Team Israel)

According to ESPN, Kremer learned that he would be starting Tuesday’s game on Sunday, one day after Hamas’ attack began.

“I still want to pitch, but, I mean, it’s going to be in the back of my head,” Kremer said, referencing the conflict. He told ESPN that his family members, many of whom have served in the Israeli army, are safe.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde spoke with Kremer on Monday.

“Gave him my support and sympathies for him and his family that’s involved, and he seemed OK,” Hyde told ESPN. “Obviously, he’s very disturbed and there’s a lot of things going on. But I didn’t sense that it was going to affect … I think he’s really looking forward to pitching tomorrow so I didn’t think it was going to affect him.”

Kremer also said many of his teammates have checked in on him since the conflict began. “I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

Kremer, who often wears a Star of David necklace when he pitches, reposted MLB’s statement of support for Israel on Instagram on Monday, adding a line of Hebrew that read, “There are no words. My heart just got ripped to shreds.”

Jordy Alter, the president of the Israel Association of Baseball, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “we are proud that Dean has earned the honor of pitching in Game 3 tonight.”

“Dean, as a representative of the state of Israel, by virtue of his dual citizenship and having played on many Israel national teams, will have the added pressure of pitching while worrying about his family and friends back home,” Alter added.

Zack Raab, who is Jewish and works for MLB, posted on LinkedIn about Kremer’s start, urging his network to root for the Orioles pitcher on Tuesday.

“Dean is a friend, a wonderful human being, and a great ballplayer who will no doubt be pitching with a broken but not defeated heart and spirit tonight, while representing so many of us who are feeling the same way this week. ” Raab wrote.

The post Dean Kremer says Israel will be ‘in the back of my head’ as he becomes first Israeli to start MLB playoff game appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Online Live Chat Service for Jews to Connect With Rabbis Sees 300% Increase Since Oct. 7 Attacks

A protester wrapped in an Israeli flag at a rally against antisemitism at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

A live web service provided by that allows users to speak directly with one of the Jewish organization’s leading rabbis has seen a 300 percent increase in usage since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

More than 5,000 chat responses (over 225 per day) are received each month, according to Aish, which added in a press release that many of the chats turn into extended conversations, sometimes on WhatsApp, in which rabbis help unaffiliated or disconnected Jewish users reconnect with their Jewish identities and form bonds with other Jews.

The Jewish organization said it believes the increase in usage of its live web chat service is due to the global rise in antisemitism and a newfound curiosity about Israel following Oct. 7, as well as a “yearning for meaning and community in the face of life’s uncertainties, and a desire for deeper meaning and spirituality in the face of a fast-paced modern culture where spiritual needs have been put on a backburner for too long.”

“We’re hearing from so many Jews who feel profoundly disconnected, whether due to living in areas with little Jewish community or lack of affiliation growing up,” said Rabbi Tzvi Broker, who oversees‘s Live Chat. “The personal nature of these interactions, coupled with their anonymity, creates a safe space to ask questions and begin exploring. Having a live rabbi to connect and share with, has been a draw for many, and we’re seeing lives transformed as a result.”

Among their efforts, Broker and his team have helped people on the chat slowly incorporate Jewish rituals and traditions into their lives, and have connected them with peers through the organization’s new online community Aish+ so they can continue learning and engaging with other Jews.

“It’s amazing to witness lives being transformed in such profound ways,” said Broker. “Jews around the world are finding threads of connection to their heritage, and tapping into the depth and wisdom of our tradition to find meaning, community, and resilience in these challenging times.”

Bob Diener, the founder of and the seed funder of’s live chat, added in a statement: “The chat has been a powerful way for people to connect one-on-one with a spiritual leader and have their unique questions answered in a non-threatening and non-intimidating way. The chat’s rabbis are connecting so many people to their roots who otherwise don’t know where to go for guidance.”

“The chats have had a deep impact on many disconnected from the Jewish community,” said Aish CEO Rabbi Steven Burg. “Each of the people we connect with demonstrates a broad yearning to explore Jewish spirituality, peoplehood, and identity and that is why they have been turning to Aish for connection and guidance. We are happy to provide both while connecting them with local Jewish communities in their area, if there is one, to continue their journey.”

The post Online Live Chat Service for Jews to Connect With Rabbis Sees 300% Increase Since Oct. 7 Attacks first appeared on

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Jerry Seinfeld Ridicules Anti-Israel Heckler Interrupting His Show in Australia: ‘You Moron, Get Out of Here’

Jerry Seinfeld attends the premiere of Netflix’s “Unfrosted” at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, California, US, April 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

Jewish comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld roasted an anti-Israel protester who tried to disrupt his comedy show in Sydney, Australia, at the Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday night.

Videos from the scene showed a male heckler in the audience repeatedly shout, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan that has been widely used as a call for the destruction of Israel.

While the disruptive audience member continued to chant in support of Israel’s extermination, Seinfeld ridiculed him, sarcastically telling the audience:  “We have a genius, ladies and gentlemen! He’s solved the Middle East! He’s solved it: It’s the Jewish comedians, that’s who we have to get! They’re the ones doing everything.”

“Go ahead, keep going,” Seinfeld told the anti-Israel heckler as the audience laughed and cheered. “They’re gonna start punching you in about three second so I would try and get all of your genius out so we can all learn from you. It’s a comedy show you moron, get out of here.”

The heckler was eventually escorted out of the arena by security personnel and as he walked out of the venue, Seinfeld mocked him some more by sarcastically saying: “You’re really influencing everyone here. We’re all on your side because you have made your point so well and in the right venue. You’ve come to the right place for a political conversation. Tomorrow we will read in the paper: ‘Middle East, 100 percent solved thanks to man at the Qudos Arena stopping Jew comedian.’ They stop him and everyone in the Middle East went, ‘Oh my god, let’s just get along.’”

The “Seinfeld” creator then jokingly suggested that to solve issues with “indigenous Aboriginal people and the white people” maybe he should harass Australian comedian Jim Jefferies during a comedy show in New York because “if this works, that will work.”

“You have to go 20,000 miles from the problem and screw up a comedian. That is how you solve world issues,” Seinfeld quipped.

Seinfeld had a number of his comedy shows recently disrupted by anti-Israel activists because of his support for Israel since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. Seinfeld’s commencement speech at Duke University was also interrupted by similar protesters, who staged a walk-out shortly after he was introduced on stage.

During an interview last month, Seinfeld addressed protesters by saying: “It’s so dumb. In fact, when we get protesters occasionally, I love to say to the audience, ‘You know, I love that these young people, they’re trying to get engaged with politics … we just have to correct their aim a little bit.”

The post Jerry Seinfeld Ridicules Anti-Israel Heckler Interrupting His Show in Australia: ‘You Moron, Get Out of Here’ first appeared on

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Ratted out: Phoebe Maltz Bovy on the end of feeling a need to ask if every contrived pop-culture trend is good for the Jews

As an expert (self-proclaimed) in the female heterosexual gaze, I took note of the trend of the “hot rodent man.” Does this mean you’re attracted to the friendly mascot from Orkin Exterminator Co.? Maybe you do, maybe he’s tremendous, but no, “hot rodent man” refers to what is essentially the male equivalent of jolie laide, […]

The post Ratted out: Phoebe Maltz Bovy on the end of feeling a need to ask if every contrived pop-culture trend is good for the Jews appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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