Jewish Journal


November 22, 2006

Eli Sherman, SoCal Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Co-Founder,  74


For years, Eli Sherman heard the joke about "Great Jewish Athletes" being the world's shortest book. But he knew better.

Sherman, who died at age 74 of natural causes Nov. 14 at a Palm Desert rehabilitation center, devoted his life to advancing recognition of Jewish athletic achievement, and to creating great Jewish athletes.

He co-founded the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and spent more than 40 years working for Jewish community centers in Los Angeles.

Sherman served as physical education director at the Westside Jewish Community Center. In the 1990s, he moved to the New JCC at Milken in West Hills.

A Chicago native, Sherman moved to Boyle Heights in 1946 at age 14. He played basketball at Roosevelt High School, East Los Angeles College and Cal State L.A.

The All-American and Maccabi basketball star first started working for the centers at Boyle Heights' Soto Michigan JCC in 1947. From 1955 to 1999, Sherman served as the health and physical education director for the Westside JCC, where he worked with a young Lenny Krayzelburg.

Sherman and co-chair Joe Siegman founded the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 to support individuals and the Jewish community through sports. The local Hall of Fame also works to promote the World Maccabi Games in Israel, Jewish Community Centers of North America Maccabi Youth games and the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles' sports programs.

Athletes inducted into Hall of Fame included Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Krayzelburg, Olympic gold-medal winner in swimming; golfer Carol Heiser Altshiller; gymnast Deborah Mink; water polo ace Robert Myman; softball star Beth Silverman Kaminkow; and tennis player Milt Nemiroff.

Sherman was also a tireless promoter of the Milken JCC, visiting San Fernando Valley malls, neighborhoods, schools and synagogues, urging all Valley residents to treat the complex as their own.

He worked to develop programs to entice people of all ages.

"I'm going to give them every opportunity to make this place a home away from home," Sherman told The Journal during the Center's 2000 opening.

Sherman retired from the center in 2003. At his retirement, Sherman told The Journal he met dozens of sports legends in his five decades with the centers of Southern California, but what he treasured most were the students who had become part of his extended family.

"These 6- and 7-year-olds ... today are men in their early 50s, and I've had the privilege of working with some of their children," he said. "That's something you just can't put a price on."


Gladys Abramson died Nov. 4 at 87. She is survived by her son, Mark (Ilene); and grandchildren, Daniel Abramson and Elizabeth Tracton. Hillside

Charles William Baral died Oct. 29 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Rhoda; son, James (Eileen) Baral; two grandchildren; and friends. Hillside

Lester Bernstein died Oct. 25 at 84. He is survived by his daughter, Arlene Estrin; granddaughter, Myndi; and sister, Doris Berger. Sholom Chapels

Paul Mark Billig died Oct. 3 at 64. He is survived by his sons, Brett, Eric and Maury; and sister, Maddy. Sholom Chapels

Ruth Blywise died Oct. 26 at 89. She is survived by her children, Joni and Shelly Steier and Barbara; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Hillside

Shanna Harrison Brummage died Oct 28 at 39. She is survived by her sister, Rene; and parents, John and Susan. Chevra Kadisha

Frances Buchsbaum died Oct. 27 at 97. She is survived by her daughter, Cecile (Norman) Krevoy; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Nettie Dubow, died Nov. 3 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Michele. Sholom Chapels

Ilona Flint died Nov. 6 at 59. She is survived by her brother, Theodore (Barbara) Bell; friends; nieces; and nephews. Hillside

David Franklin died Nov. 3 at 64. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; son, Marc (Aliza); daughters, Bonnie (Erich) Drazen and Amy (Rabbi Michael Dubitsky); eight grandchildren; and brother, Alfred (Ricki). Chevra Kadisha

Joy Freeman died Nov. 10 at 73. She is survived by her daughter, Ina Cipolla; son, David; and grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Issie Greenberg died Nov. 7 at 95. He is survived by his sons, Ron Gruen and Allen. Sholom Chapels

Annabelle Herman died Nov. 5 at 84. She is survived by her grandchildren; cousins; friends; and extended family. Hillside

Steven David Howard died Oct. 28 at 57. He is survived by his children, Max and Elizabeth; parents, Dr. Harold and Riesa; sister, Rabbi Carla; and brother, Dr. Bruce. Sholom Chapels

Annette Karp died Oct. 23 at 81. She is survived by her granddaughters, Cheryl (Ryan) Eskin, Melissa and Alison; and great-grandchild Taylor. Hillside

Peter Kaufmann died Nov. 8 at 83. He survived by his wife, Maria; son, Ronald; two daughters, Daniela Kaufmann and Jeanette (Lee) Kaufmann-Leatherman; and one granddaughter, Emily. Hillside

William Klemtner died Nov. 6 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Lila; daughters, Adean (Steven) Kane and Renee (Michael) Kress; and four grandchildren. Hillside

Jerome Leichtman died Oct. 24 at 84. He leaves his wife, Josephine; daughters, Ona (Bill) Dawes and Lauren (Arthur) Levine; and three grandchildren. Hillside

Diana Marks Levine died Nov. 9 at 85. She is survived by her husband, Melvin; daughters, Patricia Hull and Melody Marks; and grandchild, Ari Krawitz. Mount Sinai

George J. Lindenbaum died Nov. 7 at 94. He is survived by his brothers, Harry, Isadore and Leon; sisters, Goldie, Etta and Betty; nieces; nephews; great-nieces; great-nephews; and cousins. Hillside

Elsie Lumel died Oct. 24 at 74. She is survived by her husband, George; daughter, Robin (David); sons Gordon and Steven; and three grandchildren. Hillside

Rovelina Myers died Oct. 18 at 58. She is survived by her husband, Richard; mother, Rovelina; in-laws, Seymour and Charlotte; sister, Linda; and brothers, Eddie, JR, Gil and Joe. Sholom Chapels

Bertha Omansky died Nov. 9 at 91. She is survived by her daughter, Estelle Katz; sons, Arthur and Alfred; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman David Osipowitsch died Nov. 8 at 84. He is survived by his daughter, Sarah; grandson, Ian; and cousin, Ann Woods. Mount Sinai

Jean Peckman died Nov. 4 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Leo; son, Steven; daughter, Karen Veritz; and sister, Miriam Krissman. Sholom Chapels

Arnold Press died Oct. 24 at 77. He is survived by his sons, Stacy (Brigette) and Scott (Susan); companion, Eileen Racklin; four grandchildren; and sisters, Syma Sherby and Frieda Dietch. Sholom Chapels

Dorothy Ross died Nov. 6 at 86. She is survived by her husband, Dan; daughter, Carol (Robert) Edmonston; son, Steve (Mariane); and two grandchildren. Hillside

Ellen Louise Rubin died Nov. 1 at 57. She is survived by her husband, Larry; son, David; daughter, Lisa (John) Oram; brother, Chuck (Jackie) Brotchner; sister, Carol (Bob) Collen; sister-in-law, Phyllis Goldberg; and sister-in-law, Karen (Allen Berman). Sholom Chapels

Benno Shetzen died Nov. 4 at 89. He is survived by his son, Joseph; grandson, Alexander; sister, Bella Liskin. Chevra Kadisha

Judy Slavin died Nov. 4 at 69. She is survived by her husband, Herb; and children, Corey and Kevin (Bill Koumas). Hillside

Rose Solarz died Nov. 8 at 104. She is survived by her daughters, Mildred (Bernard) Siener and Dori (Irwin) Green; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Eileen Steele died Nov. 6 at 72. She is survived by her husband, Victor; son, Steve (Ti); daughters, Sheridan (Gary) and Lara (Doug); and six grandchildren.

Jesse Steinman died Oct. 23 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Rose; daughters Susan Harper and Roberta; son, David; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Hillside

Helen Thall died Oct. 29 at 90. She is survived by her sons, Marty and Robert (Michelle); five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Nathan Weiss died Nov. 7 at 78. Survived by son, Andrew (Solange); daughter, Geri (Chris) Weber; and five grandchildren. Hillside

Marlene Winger died Oct. 11 at 65. She is survived by her son, Eric; and daughter, Abby. Sholom Chapels

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