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Jewish Red Bulls star Daniel Edelman could be the next face of US men’s soccer

(New York Jewish Week) — New York Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Edelman is something of a hero to American soccer fans — and Jewish soccer fans, in particular.

The 20-year-old rising star, who is Jewish, won his Major League Soccer team’s Newcomer of the Year award last year, and, as captain of the under-20 U.S. Men’s National Team, he helped lead the team to the quarterfinals at the U-20 World Cup in Argentina in May.

But what might cement this heroic image is a giveaway from last Saturday’s home game: a Daniel Edelman bobblehead, in honor of Marvel Night at Red Bull Arena. Inspired by “Guardians of the Galaxy” superhero Star-Lord, it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for someone so early in his career.

“It’s really exciting,” Edelman told the New York Jewish Week via telephone as he was en route to practice on Friday morning. “It’s my second season with the team, and to have a bobblehead made of me is pretty cool. This is a team I grew up looking up to, admiring all the players.”

In Saturday’s game, the New York Red Bulls beat the New England Revolution 2-1, and Edelman — who was one of the New York Jewish Week’s “36 to Watch” honorees for 2023 — boasted the most completed passes of the match. The team is now 10th place in the MLS’ Eastern Conference.

Edelman insists that he was selected for a Marvel Night-themed bobblehead because his affinity for comics is well-known among his team — not because he possesses any superhero-like powers. “I’m a big Marvel guy,” Edelman said. “I love all the ‘Avengers’ movies I’ve seen. Captain America is one of my favorite heroes.”

And yet: “I would like to think I could also be a hero of the team, one of the heroes,” he said when pressed. “Being one of the young players of the team, hopefully can inspire young academy kids, younger generations of players.”

Daniel Edelman holds his bobblehead that was inspired by a “Guardians of the Galaxy” character. (Courtesy of New York Red Bulls/Design by Mollie Suss)

It wasn’t that long ago that Edelman was one of those kids. Growing up in Warren Township, New Jersey — where he still lives with his family today — he was bitten by the soccer bug at a very young age. “Soccer’s been everything for me,” he said. “Walking around the house, there’s always been ball at my feet — literally, dribbling through the kitchen while my mom is making food, bothering my dad if he’s doing work around the house. It’s always been a passion of mine; I love the game so much.”

When he was about 6 or 7 years old, Edelman began playing for a travel team, Watchung Hills, where his father, Ari Edelman, a sports public relations executive who played soccer for Loyola Maryland, was head coach. (His mother, Patty Stoffey Edelman, is an athlete too: She was Maryland’s all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.)

But soccer wasn’t the only religion in the household: Edelman grew up celebrating Jewish holidays with his dad’s side of the family. His favorite holiday is Hanukkah.

“That’s probably when I get to see family the most,” he said. “We get to all be together and eat good food, enjoy a good time and give gifts to each other.”

Edelman said his grandmother typically makes latkes, and it’s a family tradition to get Sloppy Joe sandwiches from a deli.

When asked if there was a particular Jewish food he enjoys, Edelman’s answer was a surprising one: “I love gefilte fish,” he said.

He said he draws inspiration, on and off the field, from his late great-grandfather, Benjamin Guyer, a Holocaust survivor. As the family lore goes, he made a daring escape from a cattle car while en route to a Nazi camp. “It’s inspiring that he didn’t give up, he kept fighting and he was able to make it out,” Edelman said.

When he graduated high school, Edelman was set to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But when the opportunity to play professionally for the Red Bulls came up, Edelman seized it. “I trusted myself and my abilities — this is the path I want to go [on]. I’ve always wanted to become a pro,” Edelman said, adding: “It was still something that had to be discussed with my parents.”

Said parents supported Edelman’s decision, but there was some compromise: They insisted that he at least enroll in some classes at University of South Carolina, which has a partnership with the MLS. “My dad definitely wanted me to still pursue an education, find a way to still be working toward a degree while I’m playing,” he said.

“Of course, I just want to focus on my career right now,” added Edelman, who has taken two English courses so far. “But I really see how it’ll be super important to have something when I’m done playing.”

He’s nowhere close to being “done” yet. After an impressive showing at the U-20 World Cup — and with the 2024 Olympics on the horizon — rumors are circulating that several soccer clubs abroad, including Maccabi Tel Aviv, are interested in the young midfielder.

Edelman, right, was a New York Red Bulls fan before he became a rising star on the team. (Courtesy Daniel Edelman)

“It’s cool to hear about that and soak it in,” said Edelman, who is a fan of Israeli soccer and is impressed by the “top quality” players there. “But my full focus is still with the New York Red Bulls and finishing out the year here.”

A Liverpool FC fan, Edelman hopes to one day play for a European team. “I think everyone my age, and everyone at the U-20 World Cup, wants to play in Europe someday,” he said. “That’s something that I’m going to look forward to in the future.”

For now, Edelman’s reveling in the opportunity to help elevate American soccer, and he’s proud of being one of the very few — and possibly only — Jewish player in the MLS. “It’s pretty cool to think about,” he said. “There’s been some fans who have come up to me and say ‘Oh, it’s great to have someone Jewish on the field, see them playing.’ It’s not that common, to be honest.”

The post Jewish Red Bulls star Daniel Edelman could be the next face of US men’s soccer appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Obituary: Stanley Plotnick, 82, an e-commerce pioneer in Montreal—and a major philanthropist for Canadian and Israel-based projects

Stanley Plotnick, who played multiple leading roles for decades in the Montreal and Canadian Jewish community and was a major philanthropist for Israel-based projects, died on Feb. 19 at age 82. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Plotnick was a pioneering entrepreneur in the field of information technology, specifically e-commerce, and founded […]

The post Obituary: Stanley Plotnick, 82, an e-commerce pioneer in Montreal—and a major philanthropist for Canadian and Israel-based projects appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Israel Denies UN Report Claiming Israeli Forces Assaulted Palestinian Women

UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine Francesca Albanese, October 27, 2022 (Photo: Screenshot)

Israel has denied allegations made by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) charging Israeli forces with rape, abduction and extrajudicial killings of Palestinian women in Gaza, labeling them “despicable and unfounded.” 

The UN experts’ statement released on Monday said there were “credible allegations of egregious human rights violations” by the Israel Defense Forces against Palestinian women and girls. 

“Many [Palestinian women and girls] have reportedly been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, denied menstruation pads, food and medicine, and severely beaten,” the statement from the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said. “On at least one occasion, Palestinian women detained in Gaza were allegedly kept in a cage in the rain and cold, without food.”

“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” the statement added.

The report did not mention how it carried out its investigation and neither did it provide any evidence of its allegations. 

The Israeli government’s response was swift and stern.

“Israel forcefully rejects the despicable and unfounded claims published today by a group of so-called UN experts, including one who just days ago legitimised the massacre of October 7 in which more than 1,200 people were murdered, executed and raped, and another who publicly doubted the testimonies of Israeli victims of gender-based and sexual violence,” Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement. 

The experts cited in the UN report include Francesca Albanese, the UN monitor who came under fire for justifying the Hamas-led attack on October 7 because it was “in response to Israel’s oppression.” Albanese also denied that rapes and beheadings against Israelis ever took place. Another of the experts listed,  UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls Reem Alsalem, likewise denied sexual violence against Israeli women, calling it “disinformation.”

“These [UN] mandate holders have remained silent on the horrific sexual violence and gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas on and since October 7. It is clear that the co-signatories are motivated not by the truth but by their hatred for Israel and its people,” the Israeli statement said. 

Israeli MK Danny Danon (Likud), who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said that the statement was “nothing more than an endorsement of terror and genocide.”

“Where were these purported ‘experts’ when instances of violence occurred, such as when Hamas committed heinous acts against women, children, and families, raping, torturing and burning people alive?” Danon told The Algemeiner.

“Where are these ‘experts’ today to speak out for the innocent women and children and the remaining hostages, brutally kidnapped by Hamas and still held by the terror group with zero access to any form of humanitarian aid?”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, lawyer and chairwoman of legal aid group Shurat HaDin who has in the past represented the families of Israeli terror victims in cases against Hamas, said Monday’s report came as “no surprise” given the UN’s anti-Israel bias. 

“Hamas is losing the war, so its supporters rush to help it in its last dying moments. The sole weapon of Israel’s enemies is illusory slander plots against Israel,” Darshan-Leitner told The Algemeiner

Darshan-Leitner went on to note that the accusations against the IDF were the same atrocities perpetrated against Israeli women on October 7. 

“Since they want to keep symmetry between Israel and Hamas, they pretend everything that Hamas has done against Israel on a monstrous scale Israel has done also on a lower scale. But lies have to be proven,” she said. “Israel does not rape, Israel does not kidnap babies, Israel does not separate children from parents. Only the Hamas monsters do that as their go-pro cameras have proven.”

The UN statement also claimed that an “unknown number” of Palestinian women and girls had  “reportedly gone missing after contact with the Israeli army in Gaza” and went on to say that there were reports of at least one female infant was “forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel.”

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Saudi Report Says Hamas Chief Sinwar Escaped to Egypt with Hostages, Israel Denies

Hamas leader and Oct. 7 pogrom mastermind Yahya Sinwar addressing a rally in Gaza. Photo: Reuters/braheem Abu Mustafa

Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, may have escaped with hostages to Egypt via tunnels in Rafah, the Saudi-based Elaph news site reported on Tuesday citing an Israeli security source.

Israeli officials later denied the claim saying there was no intelligence to support it. 

According to the Arabic-language report, Sinwar fled to Egypt through the vast network of tunnels in Rafah along with his brother Mohammad Sinwar and other key Hamas operatives. 

The IDF said later on Tuesday that it had no reason to believe that Sinwar was not still in Gaza. 

Elaph, based in London, has in the past broken stories involving Israel and citing Israeli sources, including a December report about secret negotiations taking place in Europe between Qatar and Israeli officials for the release of the hostages still being held in Gaza.

Last week, the IDF shared footage showing Sinwar in a tunnel in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, accompanied by his wife, children and his brother Ibrahim Sinwar. The footage was captured days after the October 7 attack by his terror group and corroborated IDF claims that Sinwar had fled Hamas’s headquarters in northern Gaza and moved to the tunnels beneath Khan Younis, exploiting a humanitarian corridor that the IDF had opened to ensure the safe passage of civilians from Gaza City.

“The hunt for Sinwar will not stop until we catch him, dead or alive,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said at the time.

Israeli media has reported that Sinwar has been incommunicado with Hamas for several weeks as he attempts to elude Israeli forces.

The army has refrained from entering Rafah, the remaining Hamas stronghold, amid strong pressure from the US and UN. But fighting continued in Khan Younis on Tuesday, with IDF operations at the Nasser Hospital. Over 200 individuals at the hospital were detained under suspicion of terrorist activities, with many reportedly linked to the hostages held by Hamas, the IDF said. 


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