The Jewish Sport Report: Why this sport is all the rage at Jewish summer camp


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Hello! Tuesday is the MLB trade deadline, so the next few days will be like Hanukkah for people who love trade rumors and tweets with “BREAKING” in all caps.

Here’s a quick and nonexhaustive cheat-sheet on the important Jewish characters to keep an eye on:

  • Several of the teams expected to be active have Jewish executives: Jed Hoyer (Chicago Cubs), Chaim Bloom (Boston Red Sox), Steve Cohen (New York Mets), Sam Fuld (Philadelphia Phillies), Andrew Friedman (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Eve Rosenbaum (Baltimore Orioles).
  • Many of the top baseball reporters chronicling all the drama are also Jewish. Give a follow to ESPN’s Jeff Passan (to whom we wish a speedy recovery from his frightening back injury), The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and the New York Post’s Jon Heyman, to name a few.

The pickleball fever has spread to Jewish summer camps and sports tournaments

Kids holding pickleball paddles

Pickleball has exploded in popularity at Jewish summer camps. (Courtesy of Camp Avoda; design by Mollie Suss)

Pickleball is the United States’ fastest-growing sport, and the Jewish world has come along for the noisy ride.

The popular racket sport will be played for the first time at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Buenos Aires this December. Maccabi USA’s Shane Carr said he got “tired of saying no” to the many requests that have poured in over recent years.

Pickleball has also taken off at Jewish camps across the country.

At Camp Avoda, a Jewish sports camp about 50 miles south of Boston, director Ronni Guttin estimated that about 40 of the camp’s 140 campers are playing pickleball. At Camp Bauercrest, A Jewish sports camp 40 miles north of Boston, they added more courts for this summer. And at Camp Ramah in California, it’s become “the sport of the summer,” according to program director Molly Auerbach.

Click here for more on the Jewish pickleball craze.

Halftime report

ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Jewish fencer Eli Dershwitz became the first American man to win an individual sabre world championship this week in Milan, Italy. Dershwitz is a two-time Olympian and a Maccabiah gold medalist.

MEANT TO BE. New Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris opened up about the experience of buying his hometown NFL team this week, saying the opportunity was “bashert.” He also called himself a “man of faith.”

PAC-ING THEIR BAGS. UCLA and USC recently announced they would leave the Pac-12 Conference to join the Big Ten next year. As the Jewish Journal points out, that means the two LA schools will join the athletic conference representing the largest population of Jewish students, with more than 58,000 in total.

CRUSHING IT. Team Israel alum Spencer Horwitz was named International League Player of the Week after he slashed .536 with three home runs and nine runs batted in. Horwitz appeared in three games for the Toronto Blue Jays last month before being sent back down to Triple-A.

HISTORIC. A new exhibition at Vienna’s Jewish museum spotlights the history of the city’s Jewish football clubs. Austria Vienna, one of the country’s oldest football clubs, was once called “Judenklub,” or “Jewish club,” because of its rich Jewish connections.

HE’S GOING PLACES. Pitcher Harrison Cohen, who signed with the New York Yankees as an undrafted free agent last year, is making a name for himself in the minor leagues. In his first 20 relief appearances this season in High-A, Cohen is 2-1 with a 2.81 earned run average.

THE FALL OF THE ‘ROMAN EMPIRE.’ Early on in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Jewish oligarch Roman Abramovich was in the spotlight, as countries placed sanctions on him and he sold his Premier League club Chelsea. The Athletic takes a deep dive on what the billionaire has been up to since.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Abby Meyers is back with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. They’re in action tonight at 8 p.m. ET against the Dallas Wings — the team that originally drafted Meyers  — and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET against the Atlanta Dream.


Dean Kremer, who has reached double-digit wins for the first time in his career, takes the mound for the Baltimore Orioles against Harrison Bader and the New York Yankees Sunday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Rookie Zack Gelof and the Oakland A’s face Jake Bird and the Colorado Rockies this weekend, while Joc Pederson and the San Francisco Giants host Richard Bleier and the Boston Red Sox. Gelof has three steals and four doubles in his first 11 games in the big leagues.


Steve Birnbaum, a defender and the captain of D.C. United, leads his team against the Mexican Liga MX Club Universidad Nacional, or UNAM, Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. It’s part of the joint Leagues Cup involving the MLS and La Liga. Daniel Edelman and the NY Red Bulls play the Mexican club Atlético San Luis Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

⛳️ IN GOLF… 

David Lipsky is in Minnesota this weekend for the 3M Open. Max Homa and Ben Silverman are off this weekend, but both are coming off impressive tournaments last week: Homa finished 10th at Open Championship, his first career top-10 finish in a major tournament, and Silverman tied for second place at the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Missouri.


Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll picked up another point with his 10th-place finish at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The Belgian Grand Prix is Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

Jews down under

After getting a visit from Jewish second gentleman Doug Emhoff, the U.S. Women’s National Team was joined by Jewish Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week in New Zealand. The U.S. team has one win and one draw so far in the World Cup.

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