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Jewish MLB star Ryan Braun headlines International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’s 2024 inductees

(JTA) — Ryan Braun has no shortage of career accolades. The 14-year MLB veteran, who retired in 2021, won an MVP award and slugged 352 home runs.

Now the longtime Milwaukee Brewer and all-time Jewish home run leader can add another accomplishment to his resume: the 39-year-old is among the 15 sports figures in the 2024 induction class of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

The new class features athletes, coaches and media members representing sports ranging from baseball and soccer to fencing, swimming, ice and field hockey and more. Honorees hail from the United States, Israel, Canada and Argentina.

“I’m very excited about the class, how classy they are, their accomplishments,” said Jed Margolis, chairman of the hall of fame. “It really speaks so well to what an impact people have made in the world of sports. And at this venture in time, we really need some good news as Jewish people.”

Housed at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport in Netanya, Israel, the hall is one of many Jewish sports halls of fame around the United States and Israel seeking to celebrate Jewish success in sports and push back against stereotypes about Jewish athleticism — such as the infamous “Airplane!” scene.

Margolis said the 15 inductees were chosen from more than 150 nominees. Margolis narrows the list to around 25 finalists, who are then voted on by a selection committee of sports experts from around the world. Longtime Israeli athlete, sports leader and broadcaster Gilad Weingarten is this year’s recipient of the hall’s award of excellence.

The 2024 class brings the hall’s total to 463 members since its inauguration in 1981. The group will be honored at an induction ceremony in July 2025. Inductees are announced annually, but the ceremony itself is held every four years, when the Maccabiah Games take place in Israel.

At the 2025 ceremony, Margolis said, the hall will also mark the 80th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps by honoring athletes who were murdered in the Holocaust and those who survived and went on to enjoy Olympic-level sports careers.

“We have so many world record holders, so many gold medalists at the Olympics and champions in their sport, like a Ryan Braun, who even had more home runs than Hank Greenberg,” said Margolis. Braun was also suspended in 2013 over a performance-enhancing drugs scandal.

“There’s just so much good stuff going on for our people, that it’s an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of some very incredible people,” Margolis added, “and we have so much to be proud of.”

Margolis, who has worked in sports with organizations such as Maccabi USA and the JCC network for nearly 50 years, said he tries to personally call each inductee to share the news — which is often received with similar reactions of gratitude.

Margolis recounted that when he spoke to Braun, who is also a member of the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the former outfielder was out with his children.

“I said, ‘I’m sorry for bothering you during your quality time with your children,’” Margolis recalled. “He said, ‘This is very worthwhile. My father was born in Israel. It means so much to me. And I’m very touched by it.’ And that’s been the general reaction from people. They’re very excited, very touched.”

Read on to meet the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’s 2024 class, listed alphabetically.

Aleksandr Averbukh, track and field

Israel’s Alex Averbukh celebrates after winning the Men’s Pole Vault final at the 19th European Athletics Championships, Aug. 13, 2006, in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Born in the Soviet Union, Alex Averbukh is a decorated decathlete who won multiple international gold medals in pole vault. Averbukh, 49, began representing Israel in 1999, beginning a 14-year run where he won gold medals at the the 2000 European Indoor Championships, the 2002 and 2006 European Championships and the 2013 Maccabiah Games. His 2013 win in Israel came four years after Averbukh had officially retired from the sport. He also competed at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Skip Bertman, baseball

Skip Bertman, left, talks to an umpire during the College World Series, June 12, 2000. (Andy Lyons /Allsport)

Stanley “Skip” Bertman, 85, is one of the best baseball coaches in NCAA history. In 18 years as the head coach of Louisiana State University’s baseball team, Bertman led the Tigers to five College World Series championships and seven Southern Conference titles. Bertman earned 870 career wins, and his .754 winning percentage in NCAA tournaments is an all-time college baseball record. Bertman — who had Russian and Estonian immigrant parents — also coached at the 1988 and 1996 Olympics, where he led the U.S. team to a bronze medal in the latter tournament, and at the 1999 Pan American Maccabi Games.

Ron Bolotin, swimming

Ron Bolotin (Razi Livnat/Wikimedia Commons)

After losing one of his legs as a result of a landmine explosion he experienced during his service in the Israel Defense Forces, the Jerusalem native went on to a successful career as a paralympic swimmer. Bolotin earned 11 medals at six Paralympic Games between 1980 and 2000, winning three gold medals, five silvers and three bronze. Bolotin also won the 1976 Israeli National Championship for the butterfly stroke, as well as three European Championships gold medals between 1979 and 1990. At the 1979 European Championship, Bolotin set a world record for the 100-meter butterfly.

Ryan Braun, baseball

Ryan Braun hits during a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Sept. 19, 2020. (Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ryan Braun is one of the best Jewish baseball players of all time. A six-time All-Star with an MVP and Rookie of the Year to his name, Braun finished his 14-year career with 352 home runs, 21 more than Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Braun’s father was born in Israel and lost family in the Holocaust. He is also one of many former and current Jewish players to speak out in support of Israel since war broke out last month. His legacy comes with an asterisk.

Michael Cammalleri, ice hockey

Michael Cammalleri skates in his 900th game, against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada, March 13, 2018. (Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Cammalleri played for five NHL teams over a 15-year career from 2002 to 2018. Cammalleri, whose maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors, scored at least 25 goals six times, with 294 total career goals and 348 career assists. He represented his native Canada four times, winning bronze and silver medals at the 2001 and 2002 World Junior Championships, respectively, and a gold medal at the 2007 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships.

Linda Cohn, sportscaster

ESPN anchor Linda Cohn speaks on stage at the Paley Prize Gala honoring ESPN’s 35th anniversary in New York City, May 28, 2014. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Paley Center for Media)

Linda Cohn is a longtime ESPN broadcaster who has anchored the network’s flagship program “SportsCenter” since 1992. She made history with ABC in 1987 when she became the first American woman to anchor a national radio network full-time. At ESPN, she has hosted national coverage of baseball, hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball. The former collegiate ice hockey goalie has won numerous media awards and is also in the SUNY Oswego sports hall of fame. In her 2008 memoir “Cohn-Head: A No-Holds-Barred Account of Breaking Into the Boys’ Club,” Cohn writes about her decision to play a hockey game on Yom Kippur — much to her mother’s disappointment.

Eli Dershwitz, fencing

Eli Dershwitz celebrates after winning the sabre men’s senior individual semifinal during the Fencing World Championships in Milan, Italy, July 25, 2023. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

This summer, Eli Dershwitz, 28, became the first American man to win an individual world championship in sabre fencing. The two-time Olympian is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and won two gold medals at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel. The Boston-area native and Harvard University alum has also won four gold medals at the Pan American Championships, three at the Pan American Games and one at the Junior World Championships. He became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. senior men’s sabre championship when he won the title in 2014. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the USA and third in the world in men’s senior sabre.

Jonathan Erlich, tennis

Jonathan Erlich during the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station, July 24, 2019, in Atlanta. (Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Jonathan “Yoni” Erlich is a former Israeli tennis star who was best known as doubles partners with fellow inductee Andy Ram. Together they became known as “Andyoni” and are the only Israeli team to ever win a grand slam tournament — the 2008 Australian Open men’s doubles title. Erlich earned his career-high doubles ranking that year, at No. 5. He reached 44 doubles finals in his career, winning half of them. Erlich also competed with Novak Djokovic at the 2010 Queen’s Club Championships, which is Djokovic’s only career doubles title. Erlich and Ram represented Israel at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004.

Abigail Hoffman, track and field

Abigail Hoffman, right, during the women’s 1,500-meter race at the Etobicoke Guardian track meet at Centennial Stadium, July 11, 1976, in Toronto. (Dick Loek/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Abby Hoffman, 76, is a four-time Olympic runner who won gold medals at numerous international tournaments, including the Pan American Games and the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Hoffman won Canada’s national 800-meter championship eight times and set several Canadian and North American records in the 800- and 1,500-meter events. She won two gold medals at the 1969 Maccabiah Games, and she is a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Jewish Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Hoffman was also the first woman to lead Sport Canada, a federal government sports agency, and in 1981 was elected the first woman to serve on the executive committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Giselle Kañevsky, field hockey

Giselle Kanevsky, left, in action at the Rosvall ITM Hockey Stadium, July 4, 2009, in Whangarei, New Zealand. (Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

Giselle Kañevsky, 38, is an Argentine professional field hockey player and longtime national team member who has won numerous international competitions, including the 2010 World Cup. The Buenos Aires native trained at the Hacoaj sport club, where several Jewish Argentine athletes, including tennis star Diego Schwartzman, have also played. Kañevsky was a member of national teams that won bronze medals at the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics. She has also played professionally in the Netherlands.

Aaron Krickstein, tennis

Aaron Krickstein during a match at the 1992 Monte Carlo Open, April 1992. (Stephen Munday)

Aaron Krickstein, 56, became the youngest player to reach the top 10 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings when he accomplished the feat in 1985. He reached his career-high ranking five years later at No. 6. Krickstein won nine ATP tournaments and reached the semifinals at the 1989 U.S. Open. In 1983, Krickstein set an ATP record as the youngest player to win a singles title, which he earned at 16 years old in Tel Aviv. Both of his ATP records still stand. Krickstein told the Jerusalem Post last year that “For me, Jewish tradition means a lot.”

Andy Ram, tennis

Andy Ram plays a backhand in his first round doubles match during the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Jan. 21, 2010, in Melbourne. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The other half of “Andyoni,” Andy Ram, 43, was the first Israeli to win a Grand Slam event, in doubles at Wimbledon in 2006. He also won the 2007 French Open in doubles and the 2008 Australian Open in doubles with Erlich. His career-high ranking in doubles was No. 5 in the world, in 2008. He won 19 ATP doubles tournaments and was a runner-up in another 18. Ram competed in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and in every Davis Cup tournament from 2000 to 2014.

Mitchell Schwartz, football

Super Bowl champion Mitchell Schwartz officially announced his retirement from the NFL on July 14, 2022. (William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mitchell Schwartz, 34, is a former Super Bowl Champion offensive tackle who played nine seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs. He was drafted 37th overall by the Browns in 2012 and was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team that season. He did not miss a snap for 121 consecutive games over eight seasons, which at the time was a record. Scwhartz and his brother Geoff were the first Jewish brothers to play pro football since Ralph and Arnold Horween in 1923. In 2016, they also published a book “Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith,” which put their Jewish background front and center. “My size comes from a childhood that included an excess of matzah ball soup, latkes and tons of white rice,” the 6-foot-6, 340-pound player once told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Ellen Weinberg-Hughes, ice hockey

Ellen Weinberg-Hughes and Jack Hughes at the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena, June 21, 2019, in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Ellen Weinberg-Hughes, 55, a three-sport star at the University of New Hampshire, won a silver medal with the U.S. women’s national team at the 1992 Women’s World Championship. She is also a member of the UNH Athletic Hall of Fame. Weinberg-Hughes additionally worked in broadcasting, including as a sideline reporter for ESPN during the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Her husband Jim is also a former hockey player who has worked for multiple NHL teams. Her three sons — Jack, Quinn and Luke — are all current stars in the NHL, where they made history as the first three American siblings to get drafted in the first round.

Sara Whalen, soccer

Sara Whalen during a game against Team Canada for the First Pacific Cup at the Sydney Football Stadium, June 2, 2000, in Sydney. (Adam Pretty/AUS /Allsport)

Sara Whalen, 47, is one of the more accomplished Jewish women in U.S. soccer history. She was a key player on the U.S. Women’s National Teams that won the 1999 FIFA World Cup and a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. Whalen was a three-time All-American at the University of Connecticut, where she also won the 1997 player of the year award from the United Soccer Coaches association and in her senior season won the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top soccer player. She was a founding player in the now-defunct Women’s United Soccer Association.

The post Jewish MLB star Ryan Braun headlines International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’s 2024 inductees appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

The post UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza first appeared on

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

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