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worn baseball glove holding baseball in foreground; wooden baseball bat in back

The start of baseball season reminds me that as a young boy in Southern California in 1965, I thought only one thing when I heard the word “hero”: Sandy Koufax.

Jared Goldin
Short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov leading the Israeli Olympic team at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia in February of 2014

Jewish fans won’t have quite as many standout athletes to cheer for this year as in 2016, but there are several compelling Jewish stories to catch up on before the action starts.

Gabe Friedman (JTA)
Houston Rabbi Oren Hayon eating a deli sandwich sent from Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles after the Houston Astros won the World Series

What do good deli, Talmudic teachings, tzedakah, and the 2017 World Series have in common? For a pair of Reform rabbis, plenty!

Jason Plotkin
Rabbi Steven Lowenstein with Maccabiah athlete and two other people

Israel is in my bones, and has been since my first trip there in 1978. Last month, when seven members of my congregation participated in the Maccabiah Games, I had to go.

Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein

Garrett Weber-Gale, who has broken four world and eight American swimming records, went home from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with two gold medals. Last year, the 30-year-old athlete from Wisconsin was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. A proud Reform Jew, Garrett received his Jewish education at Congregation Shalom in Milwaukee and at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), a Reform summer camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where he remembers spending five “idyllic” summers. Today he lives with his wife, Kara, in Austin, Texas, where he founded Athletic Foodie, a business that makes snacks specifically designed to help athletes perform at their best.     

Aron Hirt-Manheimer

On Sunday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Championship. As a native Clevelander, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the terrible curse has been broken. And there's a Jewish lesson to be learned in all of it.

Rabbi Steve Mills

Spring time is the time of Pesach, and it pleases me that the NBA playoffs coincide so neatly. The two mesh with a certain elegance.

David L. Stanley

So how will I talk about these values with my sons amid all the shiny confetti, slick commercials, rousing music, and fun snacks? Simply put, the Super Bowl compromises my Jewish values, and I want to pass those values along to my kids.

Deborah Goldberg
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