JEWS AND BASEBALL is directed by Peter Miller, and produced by Miller and Will Hechter. Pulitzer Prize-winner Ira Berkow wrote the script. Amy Linton edits. DVD extras included deleted scenes, newsreels from the 1963 and 1965 World Series, jazz artist Sophie Milman performing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
“This exceptionally well-researched book sheds new light on a timelessly old question: how can a smaller group assimilate itself into a broader culture without misplacing its identity in the process? As Jeffrey Gurock skillfully shows, Judaism’s Encounter with American Sports is the rare ‘contest’ that yields two winners.” —L. Jon Wertheim, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
“Gurock discusses the reactions of Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative rabbis to social clubs, student societies, synagogues, and community centers that offered sports activities. Parents, Gurock notes, desired that their sons work with their minds and not with their muscles. Nevertheless, inside and outside the Jewish shtetl, the ba’al guf (Jewish tough guy) emerged but hardly served as the model archetype. Still, immigrant children considered physicality a fundamental American trait. By the early 20th century, Jews participated more regularly in sports programs, notwithstanding continued opposition by their parents. Eventually, leading religious as well as secular Jewish figures supported such involvement, albeit in the face of embittered criticisms from other noted Jews. Gurock’s largest contribution involves this very examination of the internecine battles in the Jewish community pertaining to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, physical education, and athletics. —R. C. Cottrell, California State University, Chico, Choice, July 2006.
“… Jeffrey Gurock has produced an important work that cuts across a range of topics in American culture including sport and class, sport and religion, and sport and immigration.” —Florida, October 2006.
See also: H-Net review by Richard Crepeau
Boxing was an integral part of American culture during the first half of the twentieth century, second only to baseball in popularity. It was also a heavily Jewish sport—from 1910 to 1940, there were twenty-six Jewish world champions, and during the 1920s and 1930s, almost one-third of all boxers were Jewish. Drawing on numerous interviews and first-person accounts of the boxers themselves, Allen Bodner offers a vivid portrayal of the important role of Jews in American boxing history, and vice versa. When Boxing Was a Jewish Sport is a must read for fans of the sweet science, as well as anyone interested in the Jewish American and immigrant experience more generally.
Predecessor to the JCC, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association was formed in 1912, followed a year later by the Young Women’s Hebrew Association. The YMHA met at a number of clubhouses before moving to this building at 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in 1918. Photograph:JHSGW Collections