In the 1950s, when Atlanta Falcons owner and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank grew up in a cramped one-bedroom apartment in the Sunnyside section of Queens — “My parents slept in a pull-out bed in the foyer,” he recalled — his family still managed to contribute to a puskhe. Jewish families put their pennies and nickels (and maybe even dimes!) in that familiar little charity collection can with a slot. And spare change, the 74-year-old billionaire said, “was a lot of money then.”
Dolph Schayes was a Hall of Famer and arguably the best Jewish ballplayer who ever lived. But sportswriter Gerald Eskenazi remembers the late Schayes as a typical Jewish dad.
Ugly chants at European soccer games suggest a rise of anti-Semitism. But, according to former New York Times sportswriter Gerald Eskenazi, sports fans and anti-Jewish prejudice have a long history together.
At this year’s Super Bowl, there will be more than just kosher franks, knishes and pretzels. ‘We will be the most kosher stadium in the country.’
We are endlessly fascinated by stories of Jews who play sports and play them well. An under-the-radar publication suggests there are more of them than you might think.
Ever hear of a Jewish motocross racer? Neither have I, and I’ve been around sports for almost 50 years and written about Olympics from the Alps to Barcelona.
I’ve never heard of a more chilling taunt in the world of sports: “You’re next for the gas ovens, Zeidel!” It was screamed back in 1968 by a Boston Bruin opponent at a Philadelphia Flyers’ hockey player named Larry Zeidel.
Every book about the Holocaust seems to open up a new world of horrors. The problem, though, is that we are, in many ways, beyond surprises. You mean they’d shoot a Jew because he is too weak to work? Yes, I’ve heard that. They pulled the gold out of the teeth of the dead? I remember reading that somewhere.
Back in the early 1990s, The New York Times asked if I might be interested in leaving my football beat to become the boxing writer. The decision was easy — boxing had always been the most lyrical beat in the sports dodge — and I was not disappointed. The surge of excitement at a heavyweight championship fight, in a darkened arena hazy with cigar smoke, knowing that one punch can change the course of two men’s lives — boxing is the kind of sport that cries out for a literary hand. Even after 40 years in the business, I loved those ringside moments. They remain my most illuminated remembrances of sports writing. It’s no wonder the ring has attracted writers from Norman Mailer to Damon Runyon to Westbrook Pegler.
Forty years ago, Sandy Koufax took a day off from his job because it was Yom Kippur. And because it fell on a day he was supposed to pitch in the World Series, he was elevated once and forever into icon status in the Jewish community.But I believe that the gesture is now more of a fine historical reference than an ongoing symbol of