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The Jewish Sport Report: A Jewish guide to the NFL playoffs

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(JTA) — Hi there! Before we get into this week’s news, a quick birthday shoutout is in order for Holocaust survivor and Olympic legend Agnes Keleti, who turned 103 (!!) on Tuesday.

Keleti is the oldest living Olympic gold medalist in the world and has the second-most Olympic medals of any Jewish athlete ever, second only to swimming icon Mark Spitz. Check out our 2019 interview with the gymnastics champion.

Your Jewish NFL playoffs preview

Running back A.J. Dillon of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after rushing for a first half touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Dec. 19, 2021. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The NFL playoffs kick off tomorrow, and two Jewish players remain standing as the wild card round begins: A.J. Dillon and Michael Dunn.

Dunn, the 315-pound guard, appeared in 12 games for the Cleveland Browns this season, starting two of them. He played 29% of offensive snaps for the Browns, roughly double his percentage over the previous two seasons, despite spending a month on the injured reserve.

The Browns (11-6) enter the playoffs as the AFC’s 5th seed, and face the Houston Texans (10-7) Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Peacock.

Dillon, who started six games for the Green Bay Packers during the regular season, set a career high with a 40-yard rush in November. Otherwise, he had a bit of a down year in terms of yards and touchdowns. Dillon has previously joked about missing Hebrew School for football practice when he was a kid.

The Packers (9-8), who snuck in as the NFC’s 7th seed, face the Dallas Cowboys (12-5) Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Read more about Dunn and Dillon — plus the league’s other Jewish players who didn’t make the postseason — here.

Halftime report

OUT OF BOUNDS. A New York high school fired its varsity girl’s basketball coach after players used antisemitic slurs during a game against a Jewish day school. The school district and the city’s mayor apologized and called the antisemitic epithets “painful and offensive.”

UNCAPPED. On the eve of the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, David Teeger, a rising star on South Africa’s cricket scene, has been removed as the country’s team captain due to threats he and the team have faced over Israel’s war in Gaza.

CHAIM BLOOMS IN ST. LOUIS. Former Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has joined the St. Louis Cardinals front office as an advisor to the team’s president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak. Bloom was fired by the Red Sox in September as the team placed last in the AL East with a record of 78-84.

SURELY YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS. If you read this newsletter, chances are you’re probably familiar with that (in)famous joke about “Famous Jewish Sports Legends” in the 1980 comedy “Airplane!” In a book that explores the history of the cult classic, the movie’s three Jewish creators reminisce about how it got made — including the inspiration behind that sports reference.

STUDY BREAK? NFL star Aaron Rodgers appeared Thursday on “The Pat McAfee Show,” the popular ESPN talk show he had supposedly been suspended from earlier this week. During the program, Jewish fans immediately noticed something peculiar about Rodgers’ background: he appeared to be seated in front of a bookshelf full of Jewish books. We reached out to Rodgers’ agents to get to the bottom of this — stay tuned.

MAZELS. Congratulations to Andrea Kremer, Jayson Stark and the late Roger Kahn, who are all part of the National Sports Media Association’s 2024 Hall of Fame class; and Jeff Passan, who was named the NSMA’s 2023 National Sportswriter of the Year.

THE KING RETURNS. Israeli soccer star Manor Solomon is preparing to return to his Premier League Club Tottenham after being sidelined since October with a meniscus injury. The winger is aiming to return to training next week and could see playing time later this month.

LONG SHOT. Jewish golfer Max Homa, who is currently ranked No. 7 in the PGA Tour’s world rankings, made golf history last weekend with a 477-yard drive — the longest drive recorded in the PGA’s StatLink Era, which dates back to 2003, and possibly ever.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend

IN BASKETBALL…

Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards face the Atlanta Hawks Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Wizards are having a rough season, but the Israeli forward is having a career year in just about every offensive category, including an average of 12 points per game. Domantas Sabonis, who is converting to Judaism, and his Sacramento Kings take on the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. In the G League, Ryan Turell and the Motor City Cruise host the College Park Skyhawks Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, while Amari Bailey and the Greensboro Swarm host the Capital City Go-Go tonight at 7 p.m. ET and the Osceola Magic Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

IN HOCKEY…

Devon Levi and the Buffalo Sabres host Quinn Hughes and the Vancouver Canucks Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers face the Montreal Canadiens Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Adam Fox and the New York Rangers take on the Washington Capitals Saturday and Sunday, both at 1 p.m. ET.

IN GOLF… 

David Lipsky is competing at the Sony Open in Hawaii this weekend.

The Pittsburgh Steelers give tzedakah

L-R: Pittsburgh Steelers long snapper Christian Kuntz, Repair the World Pittsburgh Executive Director Jules Mallis and Steelers owner Art Rooney II holding a check on the Steelers indoor training field. (Courtesy of Repair the World).

The Pittsburgh Steelers are supporting the local chapter of the Jewish social justice nonprofit Repair the World as part of the team’s Social Justice Matching Fund, in which they donated nearly $500,000 to 35 community organizations. The Pittsburgh chapter of Repair the World, a national group with a presence in 13 cities nationwide, received $2,000 from the team.


The post The Jewish Sport Report: A Jewish guide to the NFL playoffs appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Brown University Investigating Threats of Violence Sent to Hillel Officials

More than 200 Brown University students gathered outside University Hall where roughly 40 students sat inside demanding the school divest from weapons manufacturers amid the Israel-Hamas war. Photo: Amy Russo / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

Two officials of Brown-RISD Hillel, a Jewish life  center serving both Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, were sent “violent threats” early Sunday morning, according to a report by The Brown Daily Herald.

After being alerted of threats, which were sent via email, the university’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducted a search of Brown-RISD Hillel and determined there is “no evidence of any one-site threat.” DPS vice president Rodney Chatman told The Brown Daily Herald that “local, state, and federal authorities” are investigating the incident.

“This comes at an especially difficult time of distress on our campuses,” Brown University president Christina H. Paxson said in a statement addressing the incident. “Our students, faculty, and staff continue to grapple with the deaths of Israelis, Palestinians, and others in the wake of the October 7 attacks, as well as a despicable act of violence against a member of the Brown community here in the United States last November, and increases in reports of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate.”

In Sunday’s statement President Paxson said that “robust” security measures will be implemented to protect Brown-RISD Hillel, as well as the officials who were threatened, from harm.

The incident is not the first antisemitic act of hatred since Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

In December, the university’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity opened an investigation into an incident in which someone slipped a threatening note underneath the door of an off-campus apartment rented by Jewish students.

“Those who live for death will die by their own hand,” said the note, which, according to the Brown Daily Herald, matches lyrics from a song by an early 1980s punk band. The paper added that the note was found by an electrician, who brought it inside.

A similar incident occurred last November at a Brown-RISD Hillel. Additionally, in 2020, a swastika was graffitied in Brown’s Hegeman Hall. In 2017, another was found in a gender-neutral bathroom at RISD. It was drawn using human feces, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

Last week, President Paxson rejected the demands of anti-Zionist students who were participating in a hunger strike in an effort to force the Brown Corporation to vote on a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) resolution against Israel and make other concessions.

The university has twice ordered the arrests of extremist anti-Zionists student protesters, who have held unauthorized demonstrations in administration buildings, sometimes occupying them for hours after being asked to leave. Over 40 were arrested in December while onlookers shouted “Shame on Brown, Shame on Brown!”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Brown University Investigating Threats of Violence Sent to Hillel Officials first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘Free Palestine:’ Texas Church Shooter Suspected of Having Pro-Hamas Ideology

Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, shot a man at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, on February 12, 2024. Photo: Twitter

A woman who stormed a church in Houston, Texas, on Sunday with an AR-15 rifle and shot one person before being killed by police was apparently a Hamas supporter, according to details on the incident reported by CNN.

On Monday, the outlet reported that “Free Palestine” was written on the shooter’s rifle.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the shooter has since been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36. The woman has an extensive criminal history which includes arrests for marijuana possession, assault, theft, and forgery.

On Sunday afternoon, Moreno walked into the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas — an institution famous for being the church of charismatic Christian preacher Joel Osteen — with a child and a gun. Wearing a trench coat and a knapsack, she threatened to have explosives, according to multiple reports. Most of the worshipers in attendance were Hispanic and attending a Spanish language service.

Moreno shot one man, leaving him critically injured, and was shot and killed by Houston Police. A child was also shot during the incident, but police are still unsure of whether they or Moreno are responsible for doing it.

“I want to commend those officers. She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,”  Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said during a press conference later in the day.

An investigation of Moreno’s motives is ongoing.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘Free Palestine:’ Texas Church Shooter Suspected of Having Pro-Hamas Ideology first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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London Theater Facing Legal Action After Comedy Show Turns Into ‘Antisemitic Rally’

British comedian Paul Currie. Photo: Instagram

A London theater is facing legal action after an Israeli man was hounded out of a comedy show on Saturday night by a comedian performing a one-man show that turned into what some audience members compared to an “antisemitic rally.”

A spokesperson for the UK’s Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said the group was in touch with the Israeli man and other members of the audience who fled from the theater.

“What the Jewish audience members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account,” the CAA spokesperson told London’s Evening Standard news outlet. “These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theaters is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.”

The comedian, Paul Currie, had been performing a one-man show entitled “Shtoom” at London’s Soho Theater. Towards the end of his performance, he retrieved a Ukrainian and Palestinian flag and invited members to stand and applaud.

After the round of applause was over, Currie pointed to a man in the second row of the theater and quizzed him over why he had not stood up.

The unnamed man, an Israeli, replied, “I enjoyed your show until you brought out the Palestinian flag.” An infuriated Currie began screaming, “Leave my show now! Get out of my f—-ing show!” in response.

As the man and his partner rose to leave, accompanied by a handful of other shocked audience members, the assembled crowd began chanting “Get out” and “Free Palestine.”

In a written complaint to the theater over his treatment, the man wrote: ” Shaken and feeling threatened by the growing antagonism, we exited and tried to complain/ get some support from the front-of-house team at the theatre, who were not very sympathetic but did give us an email address to make a complaint. By this time, the show had ended and the audience started exiting, a number of whom were glaring at us aggressively and in a very threatening way. We all left the scene.”

He added: “Our friends later received a message from someone they knew who had also been at the show, saying that after we left, the situation became even more inflamed. What had been intended to be an evening of comedy turned out to be what felt like an antisemitic rally.”

The theater eventually apologized, issuing a statement expressing regret an “an incident that took place at our venue at the end of a performance of Paul Currie: Shtoom on Saturday 10 February, which has caused upset and hurt to members of audience attending and others.” It added: “We take this very seriously and are looking into the detail of what happened as thoroughly, as sensitively, and as quickly as we can. It is important to us that Soho theatre is a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

Currie has remained largely silent since the incident, save for a post on Instagram which quoted Mexican poet Cesar A. Cruz saying: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”  He then added: “If you were at my show last night… you’ll know.”

The post London Theater Facing Legal Action After Comedy Show Turns Into ‘Antisemitic Rally’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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