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The Jewish Sport Report: A Jewish guide to the 2023 MLB season



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Good morning! 

The men’s and women’s March Madness tournaments are both in the Sweet 16 round, and there’s one Jewish star on each side that you should know about.

Abby Meyers, who I profiled earlier this month, is a guard at No. 2 Maryland, helping the Terps win their first two games comfortably, knocking off No. 15 Holy Cross and No. 7 Arizona. Meyers grew up at a Reform synagogue in Washington, D.C., and has been involved with Jewish life on campus.

Over on the men’s side, No. 15 Princeton is perhaps the biggest surprise in either tournament. The Tigers stunned No. 2 Arizona in the opening round, and crushed No. 7 Missouri in the second round.

Sophomore guard Blake Peters, who dropped 17 points in the win over Missouri, and assistant coach Skye Ettin, both represented Team USA at the Maccabiah Games last summer. called Peters “the most interesting man in the NCAA Tournament.”

And congrats to Jewish Sport Report follower (and my 2008 summer camp bunkmate) Josh Hurwitz, who is currently leading our reader bracket tournament!

All the Jewish players to watch in MLB this year

From left to right: Rowdy Tellez, Alex Bregman, Harrison Bader, Max Fried, Joc Pederson, Garrett Stubbs. (Getty Images; design by Mollie Suss)

Last season was a banner year for Jews in baseball — and this season could be even better.

From stars like Max Fried and Alex Bregman to rising talent like Harrison Bader and Dean Kremer — not to mention an impressive group of prospects on the verge of making their debuts — the current crop of Jewish MLB talent is unprecedented.

Team Israel’s roster in the World Baseball Classic this month also offered fans a preview of the next wave of Jewish stars — players such as Matt Mervis, Zack Gelof and Spencer Horwitz. Atlanta Braves top prospect Jared Shuster, who did not play for Team Israel, is having a stellar Spring Training and could emerge as a major league fixture this year. In fact, the Braves may begin the year with three Jews on the roster. Dayenu!

So with Opening Day approaching on Thursday, we’ve got you covered with a full Jewish preview of the 2023 MLB season.

Halftime report

CATCH YOU LATER. Team Israel leader and veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway officially announced his retirement from baseball this week, ending a journeyman career that included multiple stints with Israel and a World Series championship with the 2013 Boston Red Sox. (After meeting Ryan down in Miami, I can confirm he is a certified mensch.)

LEVIATHAN IN GOAL. The Buffalo Sabres signed 21-year-old goalie Devon Levi to a three-year entry-level contract. Levi just wrapped up an impressive run at Northeastern, where he won the Mike Richter Award for best collegiate goalie last season — and is a finalist again this year. Levi hails from the Dollard-des-Ormeaux suburb of Montreal, where he attended a Modern Orthodox school.

KICKIN’ IT. Obed Hrangchal won Israel’s kickboxing title last week. Hrangchal immigrated to Israel as part of India’s Bnei Menashe community — a group who claims descent from one of the lost tribes of Israel.

YOU ASK, WE ANSWER. Mikaela Shiffrin won her record 21st giant slalom this week, and her 88th career win overall, cementing her legacy as the greatest alpine skier ever. Every time Shiffrin is in the news, fans wonder whether she’s Jewish. The answer: not really. Shiffrin’s paternal grandfather was Jewish, but the tradition wasn’t passed down.

JUST KEEP SWIMMING. Speaking of Israeli victories, Shelly Bobritsky and Ariel Nassee became the first-ever Israelis to win a gold medal at the Artistic Swimming World Cup in Canada.

RED FLAG. A Jewish fan brought an Israeli flag and a sign with words of encouragement for Australian Football League Jewish player Harry Sheezel to a game — and was told his flag should have been confiscated. The fan says he was granted permission prior to the game, and accused the AFL of antisemitism.

Team Israel’s Twitter account was the real winner at the WBC

Avi Miller, right, ran Israel Baseball’s Twitter account during the 2023 World Baseball Classic. (Left: Screenshot from Twitter, Right: Courtesy)

Israel didn’t have much success at the World Baseball Classic this month in Miami, but off the field, the team’s Twitter account was a hit. From joking about storing a cooler of Manischewitz in the dugout to leaning into the “nice Jewish boy” vibe of the team, the account’s sense of humor seemed to resonate.

I spoke to Avi Miller, a marketing veteran and the man behind the puns. His goal for the account was aligned with that of the WBC itself: to grow the game.

“Of course virality is nice, because it creates more of a following. But then once you have a following, what are you doing with it?” Miller said. “So for me, and it’s even continued through today, and it will tomorrow and so on, is to create engagement with people, create interest in it, help to create and raise the fundraising efforts, help to create awareness of these programs.”

Bill Shaikin, an award-winning baseball writer for the Los Angeles Times, called the @ILBaseball page “the best social media account in the tournament.”

Read more about the Twitter account — and see some of its best jokes — right here.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Blake Peters and Princeton face Creighton tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Abby Meyers and Maryland play Notre Dame tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. ET. Over in the NBA, Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards host the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 7 p.m. ET and face the Toronto Raptors Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. Ryan Turell and the Motor City Cruise host the Cleveland Charge tonight at 7 p.m. ET. The Cruise have won five straight and 12 of their last 15 games.


With Opening Day on Thursday, Max Fried is likely to get one more Spring Training start in this weekend. The Braves face the Minnesota Twins tomorrow and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, both at 1:05 p.m. ET. Tonight at 9:05 p.m. ET, reliever Eli Morgan and the Cleveland Guardians face Joc Pederson and the San Francisco Giants.


Jakob Chychrun and the Ottawa Senators face off against Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET. It is unclear when Devon Levi will make his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres, but one possibility is Monday, when his new team hosts his hometown Montreal Canadiens at 7 p.m. ET.


Max Homa is in Austin, Texas, this weekend for the World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play. Homa seems locked in.

Schepping naches

Last but not least, mazel tov to Denver Jewish Day School for winning a basketball state championship earlier this month — becoming likely the third Jewish school in the United States to win a basketball state title, according to the Intermountain Jewish News. Well done!

The post The Jewish Sport Report: A Jewish guide to the 2023 MLB season 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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