As the The Great Rabbino, I am always looking at how we can integrate sports into synagogues and mainstream Judaism. This is not just about “Jewball” (basketball games filled with Jews that run regularly) or the Men’s Club event that has its annual outing to the local minor league game. What is “new” in the Jewish world that is sparking healthy competition and interesting platforms to engage with Jewish sports.
Temple of Wrestling and Israeli Professional Wrestling Association
While this may seem self-serving, Temple of Wrestling is a professional wrestling show hosted by Temple of Aaron and F1rst Wrestling. Jewish content permeated through the first show including Kiddush by the winner of the 10 Plagues Battle Royal, Jewish wrestlers, Jewish music and more. Expect the same from show #2 Hanukkah Havok. This event is top-notch wrestling and they are not alone. Gery Roif in Israel hosts the IPWA which has begun to grow as well. Crossover events and wrestlers are in the works and it is another layer of content. The beauty behind the magic is allowing for so many, Jews and non-Jews alike, to witness Judaism being presented in a totally unique way.
Sinai Temple Basketball Camp
Rabbi Erez Sherman is a basketball fanatic especially when it comes to the Syracuse Orangemen. When he got to Sinai Temple and saw the facilities some of his dreams become a reality. Now Sinai runs twice a year basketball camps at the synagogue that prides itself on content, skill building and excitement. Several NBA players have stopped by including Caron Butler, Michael Sweetney, and Jarron Collins. Also Israeli legends and other important coaches and personalities in the sports world. Campers pack the court for this rabbi’s dream and the synagogue continues to build strong ties with its members and access for non-members.
Lost Tribe ESports
Behind the vision of Lenny Silberman LTE is building a global, year-round, Jewish esports platform. Young Jews can compete with friends and make new ones, from around the corner and around the world. They had an impressive showing at the Macabbi Games and this is uncharted waters from a Jewish perspective. Very cool platform and unlimited potential.
National Hillel Basketball Tournament
This is not that new but it is awesome. Jewish college students from all over the country come to compete in an annual basketball tournament March Madness style! Hosted at University of Maryland Hillel this will be its 10th year. For many years there have been platforms for Jewish High Schools to compete in basketball including the big Red Sarachek tournament in NYC and smaller tournaments around the country. Now Hillels get in on the action, building on comradery and using a little bit of Macabbi magic to bring Jewish college students together for an incredible experience.
Ramath Orah and FunFit Kids
I put out a crowd sourcing post about this article and the best post that I didn’t know about was from Ramath Orah in NYC. Ramath Orah teams up with an organization called FunFit Kids. “They aren’t affiliated with one another per say, but FunFit has run high holiday children’s programs and on Shabbat afternoons in the wintertime has Shabbat Playground, which is Open play with all different kid gym equipment” wrote Aviva Perlman Fintz. This is a great example of collaboration with experts to provide a great athletic experience for our Jewish youth.