That joke about the world's shortest book being "Great Jewish Athletes" was finally put out to pasture last week. On Jan. 20, the West Valley Jewish Community Center hosted the Ninth Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Bob "Super Dave Osborne" Einstein emceed the dinner, which lauded the efforts of 15 Jews whose achievements have had an impact in the world of sports, both on the field and off.
While the first Jewish Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1958 in Ohio, the concept didn't take off nationally until the '80s and early '90s. The international Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel, which recognizes athletes and sports professionals worldwide, was established in 1981.
Director Eli 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 the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame included Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Lenny 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. Inducted sports professionals included Martin Denkin, a legendary boxing official, and Andrew Bernstein, Alan Epstein, Richard Levin and Ephraim Moxson for their exceptional work in sports media.
Three people were awarded the special Pillar of Achievement award: Robert Breitbard, former president of the San Diego Chargers responsible for building Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego; the late Eugene Klein, president of the Chargers (1966-1984); and the late Harry Ornest, former owner of the St. Louis Blues.
Nevin Barich, a journalism major at CSUN and Daily News sports writer, received the Allan Malamud Scholarship, established in honor of the Los Angeles sport writer. "Maybe I'll never get to round the bases after hitting a home run," noted Barich, "but through sports writing I'm still able to play."
The Journal will regularly feature coverage of sports in the Jewish community in these pages.
We will feature profiles of local athletes and major sports figures, standings and news for local Maccabi, school and intramural teams, and stories that focus on issues surrounding sports in the community.
Please send your team scores and news to Ari Morguelan, who will coordinate our sports coverage.
To submit story ideas, scores, team news and suggestions for "Athlete of the Week," contact Ari at (213) 368-1661 ext. 107, fax him at (213) 368-1684 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Now play ball !