The Jewish Sport Report: Why Israel has been hosting so many international sports tournaments


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Happy August, sports fans! 

Oakland Athletics rookie Zack Gelof is off to a solid start in his MLB career, with 14 hits and 4 home runs in his first 16 games. On Wednesday, Gelof and his younger brother Jake, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers last month, both homered. It was Jake’s first home run in professional baseball.

Israel has become a go-to host for international sports tournaments

Mamu Noam of Israel, Jakub Dudycha of the Czech Republic and Davide De Rosa of Italy

Mamu Noam of Israel, Jakub Dudycha of the Czech Republic and Davide De Rosa of Italy celebrate after the men’s 800 meter event during the 2022 European Athletics U18 Championships at Givat-Ram Stadium in Jerusalem, July 7, 2022. (Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images for European Athletics)

The 2023 European Athletics U20 Championships begin Monday in Jerusalem, with 48 countries competing in 44 different track and field events.

Hosting such a competition is no simple task, but Israel has become a go-to for international sports tournaments.

In recent years, Israel has hosted European and global tournaments in lacrosse, flag football and athletics, and will soon add volleyball, water polo and baseball to the list.

Ami Baran, the president of the Israeli Athletics Association, said Israel hosting so many tournaments has broken a sort of glass ceiling in terms of Israel’s standing in the world, both politically and in sports.

“It’s very, very important,” Baran told me. “I think us hosting these kinds of tournaments sends a message throughout Europe that Israel is on the map. People are not politically worried anymore.”

Read more about Israel’s rising status as a sports host right here.

Halftime report

REMEMBERING. The Jewish sports world lost a giant last weekend. Alan Sherman, a longtime Maccabiah leader and co-founder of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, died at 87. May his memory be a blessing.

GASP. An Israeli circus troupe put a unique spin on the popular Israeli beach paddle sport matkot in a nude performance on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” You read that right.

STANDING UP. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke on a panel about antisemitism and racism at last weekend’s NAACP convention in Boston. “People are trying to put boulders between the Black community and the Jewish community,” Kraft said. “And we’ve always been uniquely tied together. And I want us to continue that, and any way we can build those ties, I want to be part of that.”

NEVER FORGET. The German football club Borussia Dortmund joined students at the San Diego Jewish Academy last week to participate in a project to commemorate children who were killed in the Holocaust. The group painted butterflies for victims who had lived in Westphalia, the region of Germany where Dortmund is based.

ACROSS THE POND. Jewish basketball star Abby Meyers, who has been playing with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, signed with the London Lions of the Women’s British Basketball League. The season begins in October.

UP AT BAT. London’s Jewish museum might have closed this week but one of its Jewish newspapers is staging an exhibit of its own — on the Jewish history of cricket.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried returned today after missing three months with a left forearm strain. The Braves, who also feature outfielder Kevin Pillar, faced the Chicago Cubs this afternoon at 2:20 p.m. ET. Tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET, catch Dean Kremer and the Baltimore Orioles against the New York Mets.


Manor Solomon and his new club Tottenham play an exhibition game against Solomon’s old Ukrainian team, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sunday at 9 a.m. ET. Daniel Edelman and his NY Red Bulls have advanced to the Round of 16 in the Leagues Cup, and will face Philadelphia on Monday.


Ben Silverman is competing in the Utah Championship this weekend, while David Lipsky is in North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship.


Big mazel tov to Ryan Turell, the Orthodox basketball phenom, who just got engaged. Turell has been playing for the Motor City Cruise, the G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.

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