Israeli tennis players to raise cash for American Jewish athletes

Two top Israeli tennis players who have received the support of American Jews want to raise money for disadvantaged American Jewish children.

Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich, a doubles pair ranked sixth in the world, are trying to start a foundation that would provide grants to young American Jews for their athletic training.

The Jewish Sports Foundation would award grants based on financial need, athletic acumen, positive character traits and community service.

Ram, 27, and Erlich, 30, in New York this week for the U.S. Open, told JTA they wanted to give back to American Jews who have financially supported athletic training programs in Israel and opened their homes to them.

Their goal is to create a greater avenue for cultivating athletes in the Jewish community, which typically focuses more on academic and cultural pursuits.

The Israelis say they want to challenge two stereotypes: that all Jews are wealthy and no Jews are athletes.

“When you talk to a lot of Americans and ask about Jewish athletes, the only name you really hear is Sandy Koufax – and that was 40 years ago,” Bernstein said.

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