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The Jewish Sport Report: This inspiring Jewish sports story will never air on TV

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Hello, Jewish Sport Report readers!

Israel’s impressive run at the World Lacrosse Men’s Championship in San Diego came to an end Wednesday in a quarterfinals loss to the United States, the top-ranked team. Before losing to the American team, Israel had beaten Sweden, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Czech Republic and Ireland.

Read our recent deep-dive on lacrosse in Israel here.

An inspiring Jewish story cut from ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Members of the Jewish Inspiration Foundation on the set of “American Ninja Warrior.” From left to right: Chaya Ruth Weberman, Eli Casper, Ari Cohen, Esther Schwab and Aydra Jones. (Courtesy of Leah Cohen)

Orthodox athlete Michael Neuman had set it up perfectly. He qualified for the current season of NBC’s obstacle course competition show “American Ninja Warrior.” And he had arranged for a group of children with severe illnesses and disorders from his charitable organization to join him in Los Angeles for the taping.

The kids had the time of their lives. They were going to be featured in the show’s promotional content and on the episode itself. They were put up in a 5-star hotel.

But the semifinals were set to be filmed on Shabbat, and Neuman took himself out of the competition. The show decided not to air any of the footage of Neuman and his foundation, and the children’s parents were devastated that they wouldn’t receive any of the footage as keepsake records.

“I can’t fathom that that’s out there and one day when my son, God forbid, is not here, to know that those pictures and those videos are out there, and I won’t be able to have any comfort in looking at them and seeing them and being proud of them,” Leah Cohen, one of the parents who went on the trip, told me.

Read more about the whole ordeal here.

Halftime report

NO MORE 88. Italian soccer players will no longer be allowed to wear No. 88, after the Italian government and the Italian soccer federation announced a joint initiative this week aimed at curbing antisemitism. The number 88 has been used by neo-Nazis as a coded antisemitic symbol.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN. More than a thousand Jewish teenage athletes from 10 countries are convening for the JCC Maccabi Games next week, an Olympics-style competition put on by the Maccabi World Union. The tournament kicks off on Thursday, and at the opening ceremony next weekend, attendees will hear from Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Israeli NBA player Deni Avdija will light the torch.

ENCORE. After placing third in the Under-20 World Cup, Israel’s under-21 soccer team is on a run of its own at the European Championships. Israel pulled off an upset 1-0 win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday and will advance to the quarterfinals, where they face the host country Georgia on Saturday.

BAGEL-ED. It’s been an up-and-down week, and season, for Oakland A’s fans. But one night before watching their squad lose in a perfect game, Jewish A’s fans were treated to a win-win: their team beat the New York Yankees on Jewish Heritage Night. There were bagels, of course.

LIKE RIDING A BIKE. The Tour de France begins tomorrow, and eight cyclists will suit up for a team called Israel Premier Tech, which features a Star of David on its uniform. But none of them are Jewish or Israeli. The Forward has more.

These Ukrainian teens are headed to Jewish sports camp in California

Clockwise from top left: Leonid Bereslavich, Mark Sagan, Alexey Kulik, Nikita Novitsky, Ilya Miroshnichenko, Veniamin Rudman and Artur Dotsenko (Courtesy of Makkabi Ukraine)

Thanks to a partnership between Maccabi USA and the Ramah camping system, a group of six Ukrainian teens and one counselor are headed to California next week for an all-expenses-paid trip to Ramah Sports Academy.

“For these children, who mainly are now in Ukraine, it’s really a good opportunity to have a good rest, to see another country, to speak with teens the same age as they are,” said Galina Pechaiko, who lives in Kyiv and serves as Makkabi Ukraine’s deputy director.

I spoke with a number of the teens and the organizers of the initiative. Check it out.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend

IN BASEBALL…

Dean Kremer takes the mound for the Baltimore Orioles tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Minnesota Twins. Harrison Bader and the New York Yankees face his old team, the St. Louis Cardinals, in a three-game set this weekend, while Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros take on their division rival Texas Rangers.

IN SOCCER…

Daniel Edelman and the New York Red Bulls host the Columbus Crew Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Edelman is coming off a solid performance against Atlanta, which earned him a spot on the MLS Young Players of the Matchday. Israel’s under-21 national team faces Georgia tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET in the European U-21 Championship.

IN BASKETBALL…

Abby Meyers and the Washington Mystics take on the Atlanta Dream tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Dallas Wings Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

IN RACING…

Lance Stroll will be racing at the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.

Nominate a standout athlete today!

Don’t forget to nominate an awesome Jewish student athlete for our upcoming list of “Jewish Student Athletes to Watch.” We’re looking to highlight high school and college athletes who are stars on and off the field.

Nominations are open through July 12. Nominate someone today!


The post The Jewish Sport Report: This inspiring Jewish sports story will never air on TV appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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New Faculty Campaign Aims to Show Solidarity With Jewish Students

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Over 1,000 university professors will participate in a new campaign to show solidarity with Jewish students experiencing levels of antisemitism that are without precedent in the history of the United States, the Academic Engagement Network (AEN), which promotes academic freedom, announced on Tuesday.

Titled “KeeptheLightOn,” the initiative comes amid a reckoning of congressional investigations, lawsuits, and civil rights inquiries prompted by an explosion of antisemitic discrimination at some of America’s most prestigious universities. It will see the formation of a new group, the Faculty Against Antisemitism Movement (FAAM), comprising professors from across the US who will pressure senior administrators at their schools to address anti-Jewish hatred as robustly as other forms of racism.

“We have written books, op-eds, and articles, but they are not penetrating the echo chamber of anti-Zionist antisemitism,” Southwestern University English professor Michael Saenger said in a press release. “As with previous protest movements, visual displays are sometimes necessary to get people to stop demonizing marginalized groups. We need to respond to bullying and hate, directed against ourselves and Jewish students, more directly and more personally: by visibly advocating for a university that treats Jews as people, and that treats Israel as a nation.”

As part of the campaign, FAAM professors will leave their office lights on after hours to “publicly demonstrate their commitment to fighting antisemitism.” AEN added on Tuesday that the lights will “also symbolize the faculty’s commitment to ‘light a fire’ under administrators to ensure a better academic year ahead.”

“Keep the Light On” was inspired by University of California, Berkeley professor Richard Hassner, who last month held what was widely believed to be the first teacher “sleep-in” protest of antisemitism, AEN said. For two weeks, Hassner lived in his office until administrators agreed to stop an anti-Zionist group’s blockade of a campus foot-bridge which made it impossible for Jewish students to cross without being verbally abused.

Numerous Jewish faculty members at other campuses have also begun stepping up and demanding a change. Some have organized faculty trips to Israel. Others have cobbled their peers together to form groups — such as Yale’s Forum for Jewish Faculty & Friends and Indiana University’s Faculty and Staff for Israel — which have since grown exponentially and will serve as a well of support for FAAM.

“The FAAM initiative is both a distressing sign of the times and a hopeful symbol for the future not only for Jews but also for the academy,” Smith College professor and AEN advisory board member Donna Robinson Divine said. “An academy that has become the core location for an activism promoting social justice cannot sustain its credibility by tolerating hostile attacks against its Jewish student and faculty. Nor can education leaders preserve the legitimacy of the universities over which they preside by ignoring the recycling of this old and dangerous hatred. Rooting out antisemitism in classrooms, lecture halls, and social gatherings is thus as important for Jewish students and faculty as it is for the academy and the nation.”

As The Algemeiner has previously reported, Jewish college students have never faced such extreme levels of hatred. Since Oct. 7 — when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists invaded Israel, massacred 1,200 people, and kidnapped 253 others as hostages — they have endured death threats, physical assaults, and volleys of racist verbal attacks unlike anything seen in the US since the 1950s.

Many college officials at first responded to the problem sluggishly, according to critics, who noted universities offered a host of reasons for why antisemitic speech should be protected even as they censored students and professors who uttered statements perceived as being conservative. At the same time, progressive thought leaders came under fire for hesitating to acknowledge a swelling of antisemitic attitudes in institutions and organizations reputed to be champions of civil rights and persecuted minority groups. One recent study found that US universities have demonstrated an “anti-Jewish double standard” by responding to Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and the ensuing surge in campus antisemitism much less forcefully than they did to crimes perpetrated against African Americans and Asians.

The situation changed after three presidents of elite universities were hauled before the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce to account for their handling of antisemitism and said on the record that there are cases in which they would decline to punish students who called for a genocide of the Jewish people. The stunning admissions prompted the resignations of Elizabeth M. Magill as president of University of Pennsylvania and eventually of Claudine Gay, Harvard University’s former president, who would not leave until a series of reporters exposed her as a serial plagiarist.

The US Congress is currently investigating whether several colleges intentionally ignored discrimination when its victims were Jewish. On Wednesday, its focus will shift to Columbia University, where Jewish students have been beaten up and harassed because they support Israel. The school’s president, Minouche Shafik, is scheduled to testify, and the event promises to be a much scrutinized affair.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post New Faculty Campaign Aims to Show Solidarity With Jewish Students first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Adath Israel and Beth David: a pair of Conservative synagogues in Toronto narrowly decided against becoming one

It was close, but Toronto synagogues Adath Israel and Beth David will remain separate entities after Beth David’s vote on amalgamation fell short of the required two-thirds threshold. Adath Israel, the larger of the two Conservative synagogues by membership and facility size, voted overwhelmingly on April 14 to amalgamate, with 91 percent in favour. But […]

The post Adath Israel and Beth David: a pair of Conservative synagogues in Toronto narrowly decided against becoming one appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Amid Dimming Hopes That This Year Will Be in Jerusalem, Jews in Ethiopia Prepare for World’s Largest Seder

Jewish women in Ethiopia sort through grain to be used in baking matzot. Photo: Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ)

The Jewish community in the embattled region of Gondar, Ethiopia is preparing for the world’s largest Passover Seder this year, with nearly 4,000 Ethiopian Jews residing in camps and awaiting immigration to Israel expected to attend.

Over 80,000 matzot have been baked by members of the community over the past several weeks in preparation for the holiday, Jeremy Feit, the president of the Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ) aid group, told The Algemeiner. A smaller Seder, with almost 1,000 attendees, will take place in the capital of Addis Ababa.

The Jewish holiday of Passover, which celebrates the Biblical story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt, will begin next Monday evening and end the following Tuesday.

A portion of the 80,000 matzot for use during Passover in Ethiopia. Photo: Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ)

Past Passover Seders in Ethiopia have provided attendees a rare opportunity to partake in the traditional feast, offering some their first ever taste of meat — a luxury they could not otherwise afford. But according to Feit, food price hikes of 50 percent to 100 percent have meant that this year’s feast will largely consist of potatoes and eggs.

“With the extreme price increases and the resulting hunger, the community will feel the intensity as they pray to celebrate the Seder next year with their families in Jerusalem,” Feit said.

The Seder comes on the heels of an airlift of medical supplies for the beleaguered community, facilitated by SSEJ. Ten pallets of aid were delivered to a medical clinic established by the group a year ago in Gondar, serving 3,300 children and 700 elderly. The aid was dedicated in memory of former US Sen. Joe Lieberman, who served as SSEJ’s honorary chairman and who passed away during the weeks-long airlift operation.

SSEJ, which is based in the US  and entirely volunteer-run, is the only provider of humanitarian aid to Jews in Ethiopia. The group aims to mitigate some of the hunger ravaging the community by providing more than 2.5 million meals per year, prioritizing very young children, pregnant and nursing women, and students at a local yeshiva, who Feit said were often “so hungry they would faint in class.”

SSEJ and its leaders have assisted around 60,000 Ethiopians immigrate to Israel, more than the total number brought to the Jewish state during its storied military operations in 1984 and 1991.

Jewish men in Ethiopia need the dough that will be baked into matzot. Photo: Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ)

According to Feit, some 13,000 Jews still remain in Ethiopia. Recent years have seen several hundred Ethiopian Jews immigrate to Israel at a time, especially during periods of violent civil strife, but even that trickle has dried up following the brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel.

“The average person in Gondar and Addis Ababa has been waiting to make aliyah for 20 years,” Feit said, using the Hebrew term for immigration. “They left their villages with the thought that Israel was going to bring them in. And they’ve been left since as internally displaced refugees.”

Feit said the decades-long wait is especially painful for those with first-degree relatives in Israel, and is further compounded for those with relatives serving in the Israeli military.

“Jews in Ethiopia are extremely concerned about their [family members’] welfare as the IDF [Israel Defense Fores] battles Hamas terrorists” in Gaza, he explained. “They are especially concerned given the vastly disproportionate number of Ethiopian Jewish soldiers killed in Israel during the current conflict.” Jews in Ethiopia, he averred, comprise “one of the most Zionist communities in the world.”

Since Oct. 7, there has been no indication as to how many Ethiopian Jews will be brought to Israel and when. Those with relatives in Israel were struck with another blow when Israel’s economy took a hit following the Hamas onslaught, and many of those who rely on remittance from their loved ones in Israel stopped receiving money.

“This has left the Jews in Ethiopia in a dire situation, with food and medical care hard to come by. Living in squalor, without access to clean water, electricity, or even bathrooms, the malnourished Jews in Ethiopia suffer untold horrors,” Feit said.

Despite the grim depiction, Feit struck a more positive note about the upcoming holiday.

Ethiopian Jews eating matzot in synagogue last year. Photo: Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ)

“Given that most of the year they’re feeling despair at their lack of redemption, at least Passover is a time to celebrate the possibility of redemption and reunification,” he said. “Being able to celebrate with thousands of their friends and family members in a joyous celebration of Passover is a welcome relief.”

The post Amid Dimming Hopes That This Year Will Be in Jerusalem, Jews in Ethiopia Prepare for World’s Largest Seder first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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