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The Jewish Sport Report: The future of Jewish sports is brighter than ever

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Hello there! Do you live in New York or know a sports fan who does? Come meet the team behind the Jewish Sport Report at a Nets game next week!

We are offering an exciting $62 package that includes: a ticket to the Brooklyn Nets preseason game against Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana on Thursday, Oct. 12; a ticket to the Nov. 12 regular season matchup between the Nets and Deni Avdija’s Washington Wizards; and a special Israeli Heritage Night Brooklyn Nets hat.

You can grab tickets here — see you there!

Meet JTA’s 36 Jewish Student Athletes to Watch

Clockwise from top left: Ben Saraf, Lacie Saltzmann, Audrey Schildkraut, Ariel Brunfman, Elie Kligman, Lilah Grubman, Nelson Vickar, Maia Weintraub and Sam Salz. (Design by Mollie Suss)

The future of the Jewish sports world is in good hands.

You may have seen our list of JTA’s 36 Jewish Students Athletes to Watch, which we announced earlier this week. It’s an exciting group — there are Olympians, pro athletes, Division I stars and international champions. And they’re all in high school or college.

If you’re an avid Jewish Sport Report reader (we hope you are!), you may know some of their names already — like Elie Kligman, who was drafted into the MLB in 2021, or Sam Salz, the Orthodox Jew who walked onto the vaunted Texas A&M football team.

But there are lots of athletes on the list whose names you should know. Ava Brenner has won six junior national karate championships. JJ Harel broke a 42-year high jump record. Alexis Blokhina has already trained with Venus Williams. Maia Weintraub is the No. 4 ranked women’s foil fencer in the United States. Jake Retzlaff could become the first Jewish starting QB at BYU.

Meet all 36 athletes here — and prepare to be impressed!

Halftime report

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT. A hockey player at the University of Michigan was booted from the top-ranked team after he and another varsity athlete were implicated in an incident of anti-LGBTQ vandalism outside a Jewish center on campus. The school’s Jewish Resource Center has declined to press charges against the students, who made a public apology at a Shabbat dinner.

WHO BY FIRE(D). Speaking of unexpected exits, the San Francisco Giants fired Jewish manager Gabe Kapler last week after four seasons with the club. Kapler had won the 2021 National League Manager of the Year award after a 107-win season. The league’s other Jewish skipper, Bob Melvin, will remain in his role with the San Diego Padres — despite many predictions that he’d also be out of a job.

NOT TOO SHABBY. Team Israel finished in sixth place in the European Baseball Championship, which included games just before and just after Yom Kippur to accommodate the team’s religious players. Israel went 3-3 in the tournament, including a 14-1 blowout win over Switzerland and a rough 12-2 loss to the Netherlands. Israel will host the 2025 tournament.

OUCH. Israeli soccer star Manor Solomon will be out at least a couple months after tearing his meniscus during a practice with his Premier League club Tottenham. The injury means Solomon will miss Israel’s next four Euro 2024 qualifying matches — the national team is set to face Switzerland and Kosovo next week and Romania and Andorra in November.

FREE STUFF! The Washington Wizards announced its promotional schedule for the upcoming NBA season, and Israeli player Deni Avdija is set to have a big week in late January. On Jan. 24, Wizards fans will receive a hat designed by the 22-year-old, and on Jan. 31, they’ll get a bobblehead celebrating the small forward’s fashion sense.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend

IN BASEBALL…

The Division Series playoffs start Saturday, and four of the eight teams still in contention have a Jewish player (or two!). Here’s the schedule — and some notes — for this weekend:

Saturday at 1 p.m. ET: The Baltimore Orioles host the Texas Rangers. The O’s have not announced their rotation yet, but Dean Kremer is likely to start later in the series. It will be the Team Israel alum’s postseason debut. Game 2 is Sunday at 4:07 p.m. ET.
Saturday at 4:45 p.m. ET: The Houston Astros host the Minnesota Twins. Alex Bregman has played in a (ridiculous) 86 playoff games in his career and is in the all-time top-10 in postseason RBIs, walks and runs scored. The 29-year-old is already a 2-time World Series champion. Game 2 is Sunday at 8:03 p.m. ET.
Saturday at 6:07 p.m. ET: The Atlanta Braves host the Philadelphia Phillies. For the Braves, ace Max Fried is slated to return from his stint on the injured list and start Game 2 on Monday. Braves outfielder Kevin Pillar will be playing in his first postseason since 2016. For the Phillies, catcher Garrett Stubbs has appeared in the last three postseasons — last year with Philly and the previous two with Houston — but has yet to have an at-bat.

IN FOOTBALL…

It’s Week 5 in the NFL — here are the Jewish matchups to watch:

Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET: Greg Joseph and the Minnesota Vikings host Taylor Swift’s new favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET: A.J. Dillon and the Green Bay Packers face the Las Vegas Raiders.
(Jake Curhan’s Seattle Seahawks and Michael Dunn’s Cleveland Browns both have byes this week.)

IN BASKETBALL…

The NBA Preseason is here! This weekend, catch Domantas Sabonis, the All-Star big man who is converting to Judaism, and his Sacramento Kings against the Toronto Raptors Sunday at 8 p.m. ET

IN HOCKEY… 

As the NHL Preseason wraps up, watch Devon Levi and the Buffalo Sabres against Mark Friedman and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 7 p.m. ET. At the same time, Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils face the New York Islanders. And tonight at 10 p.m. ET, Quinn Hughes and the Vancouver Canucks host the Calgary Flames.

IN SOCCER…

Goalkeeper Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest play Crystal Palace tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET. ICYMI, check out our profile of the Jewish USMNT member here. Over in the MLS, Daniel Edelman and the New York Red Bulls play Toronto F.C. tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Join the Jewish Sport Report in Chicago!

The Cubs and White Sox may not be playing in the postseason, but the Jewish Sport Report is headed to Chicago for an important matchup later this month. On Oct. 23, I’ll be sitting down with an all-star panel of Jewish baseball experts to talk all things baseball and Chicago. Come join us!

We’ll see you next week, and in the meantime, ponder this: which is taller? A rabbi holding a lulav or 7-foot-4 NBA prodigy Victor Wembanyama?


The post The Jewish Sport Report: The future of Jewish sports is brighter than ever appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Flip through the digital edition of the Summer 2024 print magazine from The Canadian Jewish News

We’ve produced a collection of feature articles four times a year since 2022. A special edition of this magazine will appear in mid-September—with reflections on the Jewish year that was. And in December, look out for a reimagined publication with a name of its own. Get future copies delivered to your door as a thank-you […]

The post Flip through the digital edition of the Summer 2024 print magazine from The Canadian Jewish News appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Top US Official Calls Hamas Leader Sinwar a ‘Psychopath,’ ‘Messianic’ as Ceasefire Talks Swirl

Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, attends a meeting with people at a hall on the seashore in Gaza City. Photo: Yousef Masoud / SOPA Images/Sipa via Reuters Connect

A senior US official said that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is the Palestinian terrorist group’s ultimate decision maker and has little interest in reaching a ceasefire deal with Israel, in testimony before a US Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, there’s one guy 10 stories below the ground: a psychopath, messianic in his own belief that he has established himself in history, and [he believes that] there’s a sunk cost of having lost thousands of fighters and carnage in Gaza,” said Barbara Leaf, the US assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs.

Sinwar, the top Hamas official in Gaza and the mastermind behind the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, has reportedly been hiding in Hamas’ extensive network of underground tunnels during Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the coastal enclave.

Leaf’s comments echo others made by Biden administration officials.

In April, a US official told reporters that Sinwar is single-handedly holding up any progress on a potential hostage deal.

The senior Biden administration official said that while Hamas’ political bureau has shown some willingness to compromise on the terrorist group’s most hardline positions, Sinwar’s maximalist demands continuously win out.

“Sinwar has made the decision he’d rather hold [the hostages seized by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7] than secure a ceasefire, and that’s just the truth of the situation,” the official said.

Leaf, in her testimony on Tuesday, said that Qatar — where many top Hamas political officials are based — has been “squeezing” the group — though to little effect, according to a report from Axios.

“There’s a cadre of political officials of Hamas in Doha, and boy do they squeeze them, I can assure you they squeeze them,” Leaf said.

Israel has described Hamas’ response to the new US ceasefire proposal as total rejection. But efforts to secure an agreement are still continuing, according to mediators in Qatar and Egypt, backed by the United States.

The Axios report added that Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani met on Tuesday in Doha — Qatar’s capital — with senior Hamas officials in an attempt to reach a breakthrough in the talks about the hostage and ceasefire deal.

Egypt and Qatar — which along with the United States have been mediating between Hamas and Israel — said on June 11 that they had received a response from the Palestinian groups to the US plan, without giving further details.

The post Top US Official Calls Hamas Leader Sinwar a ‘Psychopath,’ ‘Messianic’ as Ceasefire Talks Swirl first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Blinken Confirms US Pausing Bomb Shipment to Israel After Netanyahu Calls for End to ‘Inconceivable’ Weapons Halt

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken hold a joint news conference in Jerusalem, May 25, 2021. Photo: Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday confirmed the US was still withholding a shipment of bombs to Israel, hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for Washington to remove restrictions on arms deliveries to the Jewish state and asserted that the top American diplomat had assured him the Biden administration was working to lift any halts on weapons.

The Biden administration is “continuing to review one shipment that President [Joe] Biden has talked about with regard to 2,000-pound bombs because of our concerns about their use in a densely populated area like Rafah. That remains under review,” Blinken said at a news conference at the US State Department.

However, he added, the administration is committed to making sure “that Israel has what it needs to effectively defend itself.”

Blinken’s remarks came after Netanyahu posted a video online earlier in the day in which he lamented that the US recently paused a weapons shipment to Israel and threatened to block more but said Blinken told him that Washington was seeking to end any halts on arms deliveries.

“When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation. I said I deeply appreciated the support the US has given Israel from the beginning of the war,” Netanyahu said.

“But I also said something else. I said it’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel,” he continued. “Israel, America’s closest ally, fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies.”

The Israeli premier then asserted that Blinken told him the issue would be addressed.

“Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks,” Netanyahu said. “I certainly hope that’s the case. It should be the case. During World War II, Churchill told the US: ‘Give us the tools; we’ll do the job.’ And I say, ‘Give us the tools, and we’ll finish the job much faster.’”

Following Netanyahu’s comments, both the White House and the US State Department refuted his apparent claim that Washington was withholding more than a single shipment of bombs.

“Everything else is moving as it normally would move, and again, with the perspective of making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against this multiplicity of challenges,” Blinken said.

The White House echoed Blinken’s comments, saying that only one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs had been withheld and nothing else.

“We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “We just don’t.”

Jean-Pierre added that the US and Israel have been having discussions about the release of the shipment but that there was no update at this time.

“There are no other pauses, none,” Jean-Pierre said. “No other pauses or holds in place.”

On Monday, unconfirmed reports in both Israeli and German media said that during Netanyahu’s meeting with Blinken in Jerusalem last week, the Israeli premier urged the US to return the frequency of its arms shipments to the level immediately after Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launched the war in Gaza with its massacre across southern Israel. According to the reports, Blinken said that Washington would remove all restrictions on weapons transfers to Israel in the coming days.

Netanyahu also reportedly warned Blinken that the slowing of aid and the perception of America’s weakened support for Israel benefits Iran and its terrorist proxies across the Middle East, including Hamas, emboldening them to intensify attacks against Israel and potentially resulting in a broader regional war.

The Biden administration has been under intense pressure from Democrats, especially those on the progressive left, to condition if not outright withhold US military support for Israel. Critics of Israel have argued the Israeli military campaign in Gaza has killed too many civilians and led to a humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian enclave. Israel has said Hamas is to blame for starting the war, stealing aid, and intentionally placing its operation centers inside or underneath civilian sites.

Hamas started the war with its surprise invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, when the terrorist group murdered 1,200 people and kidnapped over 250 others as hostages. Israel responded with its ongoing campaign aimed at freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas, which rules Gaza.

In recent months, the Biden administration has become increasingly critical of Israel’s operations both in public and private, pressuring Jerusalem to change its military strategy and seek a ceasefire.

The issue came to a head last month, when Biden announced that it would cease a bomb shipment to Israel and threatened to halt more weapons deliveries if the Israeli army launched an offensive in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza and Hamas’ last major military stronghold.

I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem,” Biden told CNN.

Israeli officials and experts have said operating in Rafah is essential to eliminating the last remaining Hamas battalions. Netanyahu said the Jewish state appreciates US support but “will stand alone” if necessary.

The post Blinken Confirms US Pausing Bomb Shipment to Israel After Netanyahu Calls for End to ‘Inconceivable’ Weapons Halt first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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