Jo Aleh Is Olympic Rarity

Daughter of Israelis, She Sails for New Zealand

Jewish Kiwi: Jo Aleh, the daughter of Israeli immigrants is on New Zealand’s sailing squad.
getty images
Jewish Kiwi: Jo Aleh, the daughter of Israeli immigrants is on New Zealand’s sailing squad.

By Simi Lampert

Published July 28, 2012, issue of August 03, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jo Aleh, a 26-year-old from New Zealand, will be competing in the 2012 Olympics in the women’s 470 sailing competition. Aleh, whose parents, Shuki and Daniella Aleh, lived in Israel before moving to her native Auckland, will be sailing with teammate Olivia ‘Polly’ Powrie in their vessel, Muppet.

Aleh came in seventh in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but is hoping for better results this time around. The last time New Zealand received a dinghy medal in the Olympics was the silver in 1992; Aleh and Powrie’s goal is the gold this time. Six of the other 470 teams (so named for the 470-centimeter length boats) are considered viable options for the gold, as well.

Aleh is one of many Jewish competitors in this year’s Olympics. But she is one of just a few Jewish athletes to hail from someplace other than Israel and America. Aleh, whose father is Israeli and whose mother is a native of New Zealand, has not trumpeted her religious identity. It has not been generally publicized, even in her own local Jewish paper in New Zealand, J-Wire. But her Jewish connections appear to be strong: Her two half-siblings both live in Israel, and following their trip to London to watch Jo in the Olympics, the Aleh family will be traveling there to celebrate her half-sister’s bat mitzvah.

In an interview with J-Wire, Aleh’s mother spoke of her pride in her daughter’s accomplishments:

“I am… in awe of her commitment and dedication to being a successful sportswoman,” Daniella Aleh said. “She is a very focused young woman who is very thorough in her approach to the sport. We all support her and thoroughly enjoy her company when we have it. She is a warm and supportive family member.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.