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The Jewish Sport Report: A deep dive into Jewish memory with Rocky Balboa



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Happy February, readers! This month brings us the Super Bowl, baseball’s Spring Training, and the NBA, NHL and NFL All-Star games.

This weekend, you can catch Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils) and Adam Fox (New York Rangers) in the NHL All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon.

There are no Jewish players participating in the NFL Pro Bowl this weekend (a shanda), but you can always rewatch this amazing 61-yard field goal from Greg Joseph on Dec. 24.

Finally, you can still vote for Orthodox prospect Ryan Turell to appear in the G League Next Up game during NBA All-Star Weekend.

A deep dive into Jewish memory with Rocky Balboa

Paul Farber is the creator and host of a new podcast about the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia. (Gene Smirnov)

Rocky Balboa is a fictional character, and his statue in Philadelphia was first made as a movie prop. So why do millions of people from around the world visit the monument every year?

That’s the question monuments expert Paul Farber sets out to answer in his new NPR podcast “The Statue,” which explores the history and significance of the statue dedicated to “the most famous Philadelphian who never lived.”

Farber also learned some fascinating Jewish nuggets from the “Rocky” franchise. Not only is there the Jewish funeral scene in “Rocky III” — which he has thoughts about — but Rocky’s love interest Adrian was originally supposed to be Jewish.

I caught up with Farber this week to hear about how he got into the project — it started with a scolding from his mother, of course — and what Rocky, and sports fandom in general, can teach us about collective memory.

I found the conversation fascinating. Read it here.

Halftime report

A HOMA RUN. Golfer Max Homa won the Farmers Insurance Open last weekend, his first PGA Tour victory since becoming a father last year. Heralded for his humor and down-to-earth online persona, Homa is also helping the PGA step up its TV game, serving as a consultant of sorts. During the tournament last week, Homa conducted a live interview while playing.

THE JEWS OF FENWAY. Team Israel pitcher and veteran big leaguer Richard Bleier was traded to the Boston Red Sox this week. He is the second reliever, and second Team Israel member, that Boston baseball boss Chaim Bloom acquired in the past two weeks, joining Ryan Sherriff.

VROOM VROOM. Robert Schwartzman will begin the upcoming Formula One season as Ferrari’s reserve driver, just one step away from having his own seat in F1. The 23-year-old was born in Tel Aviv and spent the first three years of his life in Israel before moving to Russia and eventually Italy. He told Jewish Insider that he got his passion for racing from his father, who died in 2020.

KEEPING THE FAITH. The Forward talks to Ze’ev Remer, a point guard who plays basketball at California Lutheran University, about his experience as an Orthodox Jew at a Christian school. “If you just continue being stuck in an echo chamber, in Jewish day schools and with Jewish friends, you’re never gonna reach out and educate other people,” he said.

MENSCH ON THE BENCH. Journeyman catcher Ryan Lavarnway will head to Miami next month to play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic. “Through this team, I kind of found my place in the community,” Lavarnway told sportswriter and baseball historian Gordon Edes. “The worldwide Jewish community embraced me, and I embraced it.”

HONORED, AGAIN. In 2021, Holy Cross basketball legend Sherry Levin had a mezuzah hung in her honor. Now the school has retired her jersey, too.

Meyers Leonard opens up about his antisemitic mistake

Meyers Leonard of the Miami Heat warms up before a game against the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C., Jan. 9, 2021. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

In March 2021, Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard made a life-altering mistake: he used an antisemitic slur while livestreaming on the video game platform Twitch. Leonard would be suspended and fined, traded and ultimately released.

Leonard apologized at the time, and immediately began a journey of learning and engaging with the local Jewish community in South Florida — a process known in Jewish tradition as teshuva.

The 7-footer spoke to Jewish ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap, in an interview that was featured this week on the ESPN Daily podcast and the “Outside the Lines” program.

As he eyes a return to the NBA, Leonard is opening up about the incident and how the Jewish community welcomed him in and helped him begin to heal.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Jack Hughes and Adam Fox are both representing the Metropolitan Division in the NHL All-Star Game tomorrow. Their squad takes on the Atlantic All-Stars at 4 p.m. ET on ABC.


Two Jewish players will take on the Nets tomorrow in New York. Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards play the Brooklyn Nets at 6 p.m. ET, and former Yeshiva University star Ryan Turell will play his first game back in the Empire State at 7 p.m. ET when his Motor City Cruise take on the Long Island Nets. Y.U. fans plan to show up in full-force for Turell’s New York homecoming.


Jewish golfers David Lipsky and Ben Silverman are at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this weekend in California — a tournament that pairs pros with amateurs (including big-name celebrities). Silverman, who won the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic last week, will pair up with none other than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Fool me twice…

Perhaps the biggest story in sports this week was the (second) retirement of legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who ends a 23-year career with seven Super Bowl rings. Reactions poured in from around the league, including from Jewish New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Brady’s former teammate Julian Edelman.

The timing is auspicious — the star-studded film “80 For Brady” hits theaters today. The movie has been panned already, but I’m not convinced Brady’s retirement isn’t just a marketing ploy. Oh well. I’ll still see it.

The post The Jewish Sport Report: A deep dive into Jewish memory with Rocky Balboa appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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