The Jewish Sport Report: All the Jews to watch in the NFL this season


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Hello and happy September! It’s been a solid season for Orthodox pitching prospect Jacob Steinmetz, who notched the first win of his professional career this week with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Single-A affiliate, the Visalia Rawhides.

A Washington Post story details how the 20-year-old is navigating minor league life as an Orthodox Jew — from flying in kosher food from Los Angeles to walking to the ballpark on Shabbat.

Your Jewish guide to the new NFL season

From left: Michael Dunn, Jake Curhan, Greg Joseph and A.J. Dillon. (Getty Images/Design by Mollie Suss)

Football fans rejoice: Week 1 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night.

As the season gets underway, there are four Jewish players to watch, plus a few free agents and other Jewish storylines to keep an eye on, too.

Here are the Jewish players starting the season on NFL rosters:

  • Jake Curhan, Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle
  • A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers running back
  • Michael Dunn, Cleveland Browns offensive lineman
  • Greg Joseph, Minnesota Vikings kicker

Read our full NFL season preview right here.

Halftime report

GOLDEN. Israel won two gold medals at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Spain last weekend, including in the all-around group category — the country’s first-ever gold medal at the tournament. “We are really happy that we managed to get this medal and that we got the chance to scream out the anthem from the podium,” said team captain Romi Paritzki.

BANNED. Iran banned one of its weightlifters for life after he shook hands with an Israeli athlete at the 2023 World Master Weightlifting Championships in Poland.

MORE THAN A GAME. In 1983, campers from a Canadian Jewish summer camp played a basketball game against a group of kids who had been students of a notorious Holocaust denier. Forty years later, the experience remains formative for Hart Snider, who created a short film and comic book memoir about it. Snider recently returned to the camp to mark the anniversary of the game.

THANKS? Jewish golfer Max Homa is set to participate in his first Ryder Cup later this month, the biennial competition featuring teams from the United States and Europe. When the U.S. team was announced this week, Zach Johnson also jokingly named Homa the “prom king” of the squad — an honor that was met with confused excitement from the No. 7-ranked PGA golfer.

ENOUGH ALREADY. Israeli UFC fighter Natan Levy told TMZ he is constantly fending off antisemitic messages online, including a lot of Holocaust denial. (Levy recently challenged one online troll to a fight.)

YUM. The iconic Katz’s Deli announced that it is partnering with WNBA superstar Sabrina Ionescu on a new “Triple Double Stacker Sandwich” featuring corned beef, brisket and pastrami, in honor of Ionescu’s three triple-doubles in one season and her new Nike shoe — the company’s first-ever unisex signature shoe collection. (Ionescu is not Jewish.)

Is the pen mightier than the bat?

Ryan Lavarnway and a page from his book

Veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway wrote a children’s book about his experience playing for Team Israel. (Getty; book page courtesy of Ryan Lavarnway)

Ryan Lavarnway, a journeyman catcher who played for eight teams across 10 MLB seasons, officially retired from professional baseball earlier this year. In addition to his new role as a Colorado Rockies TV analyst, Lavarnway just released a children’s book about how playing for Team Israel brought him closer to Judaism.

The book follows Lavarnway’s baseball journey from childhood to the pros, and it explores how an offer to play for Israel changed both his career and his life.

“When I played for the World Baseball Classic team in 2017, that was a really life changing experience for me,” Lavarnway told me. “I didn’t feel a huge connection to my Judaism, to any religion, to the community at all. Through playing for Team Israel, I felt that for the first time.”

Read more about the new book here.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


The U.S. Open is underway in New York, and a few Jewish (or Jewish-adjacent) players are still in the fight. Aslan Karatsev, who was born in Russia but moved to Israel at 3 years old, faces Ben Shelton today at 12:15 p.m. ET in the third round of men’s singles. Ukrainian star Elina Svitolina, who had a Jewish grandmother, faces Jessica Pegula in the third round tomorrow, tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. ET. Madison Brengle, Camila Giorgi and Diego Schwartzman — who has been in a rough stretch lately — all lost in the first round.


Max Fried takes the mound for his Atlanta Braves tonight at 10:10 p.m. ET against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harrison Bader, who was cut by the Yankees and then picked up by the Cincinnati Reds this week, could debut for his new team in their series against the Chicago Cubs. Garrett Stubbs and the Philadelphia Phillies take on Rowdy Tellez and the Milwaukee Brewers, while Zack Gelof and the Oakland Athletics face the Los Angeles Angels and reliever Kenny Rosenberg.


Manor Solomon and Tottenham face Burnley Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, while Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest take on Chelsea at the same time. Solomon hasn’t seen much playing time in Tottengam’s Premier Leagues matches, but the Israeli forward played 81 minutes during Tuesday’s EFL Cup game against his old squad, Fulham. Turner, meanwhile, has started all three games for Nottingham, saving 73.7% of shots so far.


Lance Stroll is on the grid for this weekend’s Formula One Italian Grand Prix, Sunday at 9 a.m. ET. The Aston Martin driver has been confirmed to keep his seat for next season.

Hoops for a cause

Basketball clinic

Children participate in a basketball clinic in Philadelphia, Aug. 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Jared Armstrong)

Last weekend, Jewish basketball player Jared Armstrong, who plays professionally in Israel, ran a free clinic in Philadelphia to promote Black-Jewish relations. Here’s a photo from Armstrong’s camp. For more, check out this interview Armstrong did with Philly’s local ABC News affiliate during the event.

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