Before this Thursday’s Varsity Letters event at The Gallery at LPR, Gelf interviewed all three of our speakers about the topic at hand:
Marc Tracy, co-editor of Jewish Jocks:
- What we try to show in our book is that there are plenty of great Jewish athletes who also had recognizably “Jewish” traits (the great boxer Daniel Mendoza essentially invented the uppercut, for example), and ones who didn’t, and also that there were and are great non-athlete Jewish sports figures, many of whom found in that model of diaspora Judaism things that, it turned out, had a lot to offer the sports world, particularly in modern times, whether it’s the sixth man (thank you, Red Auerbach); broadcasting innovations; or fantasy sports.
Read Gelf’s full interview with Tracy.
Howard Megdal, author of The Baseball Talmud:
- [Fielding a contemporary all-Jewish baseball team] wouldn’t be so easy, but they wouldn’t be terrible. That team would have Ryan Lavernway at catcher, Nate Freiman at first, Ian Kinsler at second, Danny Valencia at shortstop (we’d move him), Josh Satin at third, an outfield of Sam Fuld, Ryan Braun and Kevin Pillar, and a rotation of Scott Feldman … okay, we’d be short on the rotation. Joc Pederson will be up soon to bolster the outfield, though, and we could call up Danny Rosenbaum to make a few starts while first-round pick of the Cardinals Rob Kaminsky develops. We’d do okay.
Read Gelf’s full interview with Megdal.
Robert Podhurst, former Macabbi Tel Aviv player, current Sociology of Sport professor at Montclair State University:
- I was a volunteer in the Six Day War; when the war was over, I was on a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee shooting baskets on an outdoor court. A fan with some connections recommended I take the four-hour bus trip to Tel Aviv and contact Maccabi Tel Aviv. I followed his advice; fortunately, the coach was there with a team manager. I auditioned for an hour, signed a contract, and moved into an apartment that evening. I wound up starting and played several seasons.
Read Gelf’s full interview with Podhurst.
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The FREE September 12 Varsity Letters event will take place at The Gallery at LPR in Manhattan’s West Village.
158 Bleecker St. (between Sullivan St. and Thompson St.)
New York, NY 10012
Blocks from A/C/E/B/D/F/M/N/R/1/6 trains
Attendees must be 21 or older, as per LPR rules. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are under 21 and would like to attend the events. The farther in advance, the better; no guarantees.)
Doors open at 7:00. Event starts at 7:30. The events are FREE: There is no admission charge.