This article was sent as a newsletter. Sign up for our weekly Jewish sports newsletter here.
(JTA) — Hi there! It’s hard to believe it’s already December. The MLB Winter Meetings begin on Monday, ushering in the most exciting and hectic few days of baseball’s offseason.
Keep an eye on newly-minted general managers David Stearns (New York Mets) and Craig Breslow (Boston Red Sox), as well veteran execs Mark Shapiro (Toronto Blue Jays) and Andrew Friedman (Los Angeles Dodgers) — all of whom are expected to be active in free agent negotiations and trade talks.
The top three reporters covering the rumors are all Jewish, too: Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman.
The Dallas Mavericks make a trade — one Jewish billionaire owner for another
Jewish billionaire and “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban is likely the best-known owner in the NBA. He’s not afraid to speak out about politics or controversy in the league, and he has an active role in running his Dallas Mavericks.
So when the news broke this week that Cuban would be selling his majority stake in the franchise, basketball fans were taken a bit off-guard. And his partner in the acquisition, fellow Jewish billionaire and casino magnate Miriam Adelson, was also unexpected. Adelson, the widow of influential Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, purchased Cuban’s ownership stake for a reported $3.5 billion.
The deal also represents something of a partnership for Cuban and Adelson, whose daughter is on the Israeli version of “Shark Tank.” Cuban will retain control over the team’s basketball operations — an unusual arrangement in pro sports — while Adelson is expected to bring her casino know-how to Dallas, where some lawmakers are seeking to legalize recreational gambling.
Adelson is also taking over the current team of Kyrie Irving, the All-Star at the center of an antisemitism scandal last year.
HOSTAGE HERO. Prominent Argentine-Jewish sportscaster Hernan Feler mentioned the Israeli hostages on air during soccer games for weeks. His aunt, Ofelia Roitman, was among those released by Hamas on Tuesday.
A TRUE GLOBETROTTER. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger died this week at 100, and my colleague Ben Harris’ excellent obituary features a fantastic tidbit about the controversial politician: Kissinger was the first person to be named an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, in 1976.
JEWS ON FIRST. If you live in the Boston area, check out this event Sunday at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland: Judaism through Baseball: An Afternoon with Ryan Lavarnway and Jonathan Mayo. Mayo is a longtime MLB.com reporter and a friend of the Sport Report, and I recently spoke with Lavarnway, the former Team Israel captain and retired MLB catcher, about his Israel advocacy.
RETURN TO SENDER. The Telegraph reports that the United Kingdom rejected a proposal that former Chelsea F.C. owner and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich use the money he made from selling the Premier League club — over two billion pounds — to support Israel rather than Ukraine, as he had proposed last year.
GABE’S NEW GIG. Former San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler is joining the Miami Marlins front office as an assistant general manager. Kapler had been a candidate for Boston’s chief baseball officer opening this winter and had expressed an interest in returning to front-office work after years as a manager.
WHAT CAN’T HE DO? It turns out New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes is a multi-sport threat. The 22-year-old, who has 29 points in 16 games this season, joined “The Eli Manning Show” this week and easily made a 50-yard “puck goal,” shooting a hockey puck through the uprights at MetLife Stadium. For his next trick, we’d like to see Hughes hit a puck for a homer at Citi Field.
Jews in sports to watch this weekend
Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards face the Orlando Magic tonight at 7 p.m. ET. Avdija dropped a season-high 22 points on Wednesday (his second 22-point performance), but the Wizards remain one of the league’s worst teams at 3-15. Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings host the Denver Nuggets Saturday at 10 p.m. ET and the New Orleans Pelicans Monday at 10 p.m. ET in the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament. In the G League, Ryan Turell and the Motor City Cruise host the Wisconsin Herd tonight at 7 p.m. ET and Amari Bailey and the Greensboro Swarm play the Delaware Blue Coats tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET.
Jack and Luke Hughes’ New Jersey Devils host Luke Kunin and the San Jose Sharks tonight at 7 p.m. ET. The brothers worked together to secure an overtime victory last night. Their rival, bagel influencer Adam Fox — who returned from injury on Wednesday — and his New York Rangers match up against the Nashville Predators Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET and the Sharks Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. Cole Guttman and the Chicago Blackhawks play the Winnipeg Jets Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and the Minnesota Wild Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. Guttman returned to the Blackhawks last Friday after a stint in the AHL.
Jake Curhan and the Seattle Seahawks kicked off Week 13 last night with a thrilling 41-35 loss against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. On Sunday, catch Michael Dunn and the Cleveland Browns against the Los Angeles Rams at 4:25 p.m. ET, before A.J. Dillon and the Green Bay Packers host the Kansas City Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday Night Football.
Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest take on Everton Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Max Homa is in the lineup at Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge golf tournament in The Bahamas this weekend.
A joyful homecoming
Teenager Ofir Engel, one of the dozens of Israeli hostages released by Hamas this week, is a huge fan of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team. The squad welcomed Engel home on Wednesday with a message on X, writing, “Happy. Proud. Glad to announce Ofir Engel’s signing for life… so good that you came back home.” Watch the crowd cheer him on in this moving clip from a game he attended after his release.
להכריז על החתמתו של אופיר אנגל לכל החיים.
מאושרים עבור סבא ג’וחא, יואב, שרון וכל משפחת אנגל האהובה.
כמה טוב שבאת הביתה.
!Ofir is back HOME pic.twitter.com/jrQoAQmY1a
— Hapoel Jerusalem BC (@JerusalemBasket) November 29, 2023
The post The Jewish Sport Report: Mark Cuban and Miriam Adelson make a Dallas Mavericks swap appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Pope Condemns Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism Amid New Wave of Attacks Against Jews
Pope Francis condemned all forms of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, labeling them as a “sin against God,” after noticing an increase in attacks against Jews around the world.
“(The Church) rejects every form of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, unequivocally condemning manifestations of hatred towards Jews and Judaism as a sin against God,” the pontiff wrote in a letter to the Jewish population of Israel dated Feb. 2 and made public on Saturday.
“Together with you, we, Catholics, are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world. We had hoped that ‘never again’ would be a refrain heard by the new generations,” he added.
The Pope noted that wars and divisions are increasing all over the world “in a sort of piecemeal world war,” hitting the lives of many populations.
Francis, 87, has condemned Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border attack from Gaza into southern Israel. He has also said on several occasions that a two-state solution was needed to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his letter, the pope also called, once again, for the release of those hostages still being held by militants.
He said his heart was torn at the sight of the conflict in the Holy Land and the division and hatred stemming from it, adding that the world was looking at the unfolding of events in the area with “apprehension and pain.”
He assured the Jewish community of his closeness and affection, “particularly (those) consumed by anguish, pain, fear and even anger,” repeating his call for the end of the war.
Francis said he prayed for peace. “My heart is close to you, to the Holy Land, to all the peoples who inhabit it, Israelis and Palestinians, and I pray that the desire for peace may prevail in all.”
The post Pope Condemns Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism Amid New Wave of Attacks Against Jews first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Israel Says It Has Struck More than 50 Hezbollah Targets in Syria Since Oct 7
The Israeli military said on Saturday that since the outbreak of the Gaza war on Oct. 7 it had struck more than 50 targets in Syria linked to the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
The remarks, in a briefing by chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari that mainly discussed efforts to beat back Hezbollah attacks launched in solidarity with Hamas, were a departure from Israel’s usual reticence about Syria operations.
“Everywhere Hezbollah is, we shall be. We will take action everywhere required in the Middle East,” Hagari said.
Israeli forces have attacked 34,000 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including 120 border surveillance outposts, 40 caches of missiles and other weaponry and more than 40 command centers, Hagari said. He put the number of enemy dead at more than 200.
Hagari said Israel had deployed three army divisions along its side of the Lebanese border in anticipation of Hezbollah getting involved after Palestinian Hamas launched a shock cross-border attack on Oct. 7, triggering the war in the Gaza Strip.
With tens of thousands of its northern residents having evacuated, Israel has threatened to escalate the Lebanon fighting unless Hezbollah backs off from the border – and has sought Western help in finding a diplomatic solution in Beirut.
The post Israel Says It Has Struck More than 50 Hezbollah Targets in Syria Since Oct 7 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
American Bases Attacked Within Hours of Retaliatory Strikes in Iraq
i24 News – American bases once again came under attack by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and missiles, according to Shahab news agency, just a few hours after extensive retaliatory strikes by the United States against Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq.
Following the death of three American soldiers by a drone strike in Jordan, the U.S. carried out strikes against 85 targets located at seven locations in the region, as well as imposing fresh sanctions and reportedly a cyber attack on Iranian targets.
American officials told The New York Times that the U.S. conducted covert cyber-operations against Iranian targets, but declined to provide further details. Though there were overt sanctions on officials from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) cyber division, including the department’s commander Hamid Reza Lashgarian, as well as on companies reportedly supplying the offensive programs.
Furthermore, the Saudi AlHadath channel reported that a senior commander of the Iranian-backed militias was killed in one of the U.S. strikes in Iraq. While other reports indicate that the attacks will result in “significant damage” to the capabilities of the targeted groups, with initial estimates of six dead and 11 wounded.
U.S. President Joe Biden described the operation as striking “targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces. Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing.”
“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden concluded.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups continue to represent a direct threat to the stability of Iraq, the region, and the safety of Americans. We will continue to take action, do whatever is necessary to protect our people, and… pic.twitter.com/Y53nvRfjjx
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) February 3, 2024
General Michael E. Kurilla, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander, posted on X a video of a B-1 bomber taking off, and wrote “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups continue to represent a direct threat to the stability of Iraq, the region, and the safety of Americans. We will continue to take action, do whatever is necessary to protect our people, and hold those responsible who threaten their safety.”
According to reports, some of the arsenal used were long-range bombers like the B-1 that flew from the continental United States to carry out the attacks. National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, said “there will be additional response action taken in coming days”.
In addition, some reports indicate the Jordanian Air Force participated in the strikes.
The post American Bases Attacked Within Hours of Retaliatory Strikes in Iraq first appeared on Algemeiner.com.