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Happy Friday, sports fans!
The International Chess Federation Championship is underway in Kazakhstan, and Russian-Jewish grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi is currently leading in a best of 14 tournament.
With Yom Hashoah earlier this week, chess.com shared the remarkable story of Holocaust survivor Isabelle Choko, who would go on to win the 1956 French Women’s Chess Championship.
Why there are so many Jewish sports halls of fame
From Philadelphia to Southern California, Oregon to St. Louis, and many more locations around the United States, there are walls, halls and exhibits celebrating Jewish athletes and industry executives.
As I discovered more and more of these organizations, I was curious: why are there so many?
When I spoke to leaders and members of numerous halls around the country, a few themes emerged. One was the notion of celebrating Jewish success in sports as a way to combat antisemitism and negative stereotypes.
“We want to call attention to that because of the antisemitic trope that Jews are not good soldiers, farmers or athletes. We need to overcome that,” said Jed Margolis, who runs the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel.
Check out my full deep-dive into Jewish sports halls of fame right here.
MARCHING ON. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft led a delegation at this week’s March of the Living in Poland, the annual program that commemorates the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Kraft was joined by rapper Meek Mill, who Kraft has befriended after advocating for his release from prison in 2018.
PROMOTED. Orthodox MLB prospect Jacob Steinmetz was promoted to Single-A this week, where he made his official minor league debut as a member of the Visalia Rawhide, an Arizona Diamondbacks’ affiliate. Steinmetz struck out four across three innings, allowing one run on three hits.
SHE ISRAELI FAST. Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter came in third place in the Boston Marathon women’s race on Monday. Salpeter finished with a time of 2:21:55 — 17 seconds behind the winner but an improvement over her performance in last fall’s New York Marathon, where she finished in second.
MAY HIS MEMORY BE A BLESSING. Eli Wolff, a former Paralympic soccer player and respected disability rights advocate, made an impact across the sports world. Wolff helped push the MLB to rename its “disabled list” to the “injured list,” and he is credited with creating the annual award for best male and female athlete with a disability at ESPN’s ESPY Awards. Wolff died earlier this month at 45.
OPPORTUNITY ALERT. Maccabi USA is accepting applications through April 30 for its next Maccabi Media cohort, a program for college students and recent grads who are interested in sports media. (You may remember that some of their fellows contributed to the Jewish Sport Report during last year’s Maccabiah Games.) The next group will travel to Argentina for the 2023 Pan American Maccabi Games. Learn more information and apply here.
Harrison Bader visits an iconic Jewish deli in NYC
New York Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader recently stopped by Liebman’s Deli in the Bronx, joining celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson for an episode of Samuelsson’s “Home Plate: New York” program on the YES Network.
Bader helps season the brisket, enjoys a piping hot bowl of matzah ball soup and sits down to a classic Jewish deli meal with Samuelsson to talk baseball and his upbringing in New York.
“Obviously my father was my first coach,” Bader told Samuelsson. “Without my dad pitching to me every day, since I was 5 years old, I would be nowhere.”
Read more about the episode here.
Jews in sports to watch this weekend
Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 10 p.m. ET in Game 3 of the first round of the NHL playoffs, which is currently tied 1-1; Game 4 is Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Jack and Luke Hughes and the New Jersey Devils face Adam Fox and the New York Rangers Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in Game 3. The Rangers are up 2-0 in the series.
Domantas Sabonis, who is converting to Judaism, and the Sacramento Kings are up 2-1 against the Golden State Warriors. Sabonis scored 15 points in Game 3 on Thursday after suffering a sternum injury in Game 2, when he was stomped on by Draymond Green, who was suspended over the incident. Game 4 is Sunday at 3:30 p.m ET on ABC.
Max Fried, who earned his first win of the season on Monday, starts for the Atlanta Braves Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET against Alex Bregman and the defending champion Houston Astros. Richard Bleier and the Boston Red Sox face Rowdy Tellez and the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game set this weekend.
Manor Solomon and Fulham F.C. play Leeds United in a Premier League matchup Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET.
A very Jewish NHL playoff matchup
The NHL playoff series between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers features three Jewish players, not to mention a classic tri-state rivalry. One Twitter user suggested it may even be the first time a playoff series in one of the major sports has featured two teams whose best player is Jewish, with Adam Fox for the Rangers and Jack Hughes on the Devils. Can you think of another example? Reply to this email or join the conversation on Twitter!
This is a fantastic point. Alex Bregman/Max Fried comes close in the 2021 World Series.
Any other Jewish postseason matchups come to mind? https://t.co/UHKrwvCtR8
— The Jewish Sport Report (@JTASportReport) April 20, 2023
The post The Jewish Sport Report: Why there are so many Jewish sports halls of fame appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.