Jewish Sports Review
|Editors||Ephraim Moxson; Shel Wallman|
|Staff writers||Neil Keller; Stan Ramati|
|Publisher||Ephraim Moxson; Shel Wallman|
|First issue||May–June 1997|
|Based in||Los Angeles, California|
The magazine identifies which star and professional athletes are Jewish. It also covers and has all-time lists for Jewish players in major league baseball, pro football, pro basketball, and pro hockey; selects Jewish All-America College teams in baseball, football, basketball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse; covers international athletic events; selects high school Jewish All-America teams in basketball; and names the top graduating Jewish high school athletes. In addition, it covers "minor sports", such as boxing.
As to his inspiration for launching the magazine, Wallman—speaking on a panel on Jews in baseball at the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame—said: "I was always curious to know who was Jewish as a kid. And there wasn't a list."
Wallman said: "These days, most Jewish parents with a kid who has a good chance to play in the pros will encourage them," adding with a smile, "You can always go to medical school afterward."
JSR's criteria are that an athlete is Jewish if one of his parents is Jewish, he did not practice any other religion while he played, and he identified ethnically as a member of the Jewish community. If an athlete has a Jewish parent but was raised in, or converted to, another faith, or indicated to JSR that he did not wish to be considered Jewish, he is excluded (even though under Jewish law he might be considered Jewish). Moxson indicates that David Beckham is not included, as only his mother's father is Jewish, and he does not identify himself as Jewish.
Columnist Nate Bloom described how JSR researches whether an athlete is Jewish as follows:
Every once in a while, the Review adds a player because he is clearly identified as Jewish in a very good news source like an interview. More often, they decide to contact a player (or a player's representative, or very close family member)--because of a tip or because the player has a "Jewish sounding" name. If they are told (by the player or his rep) that the player has one or more Jewish parents—they then inquire if the player was raised in and/or currently adheres to a faith other than Judaism. If the player answers "yes" to either of those questions—that ends the Review's inquiries and they don't cover the player. On the other hand, if they are told the player was raised Jewish or "nothing"--the Review then asks if the player has any objection to being identified as Jewish in the pages of the Review. If not, then they add him.
The magazine gets tips on athletes from their subscribers, public relations directors for pro teams, school coaches, parents, and students. Wallman searches by phone and on the internet for top Jewish athletes in pro, college, and high school ranks.
JSR also lists athletes frequently misidentified as Jewish, among them second baseman Rod Carew ("never converted, although his children were raised Jewish"), pitcher Mike LaCoss ("born Marks, but took his stepfather's name and becomes irate when he is categorized as a Jew"), and quarterback Rex Grossman (German-Catholic).
In 2009, as Jewish baseball players Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, and Kevin Youkilis were leading in voting for their positions on their All Star teams, JSR noted that 160 Jews had played in the major leagues.
The New York Daily News reported that according to JSR, there were almost three dozen Jews in baseball before Hank Greenberg, but unlike Greenberg many had changed their names as they played in the majors. Michael Silverman changed his name to Baker, Rosenblum to Bennett, Lifsit to Bostwick, Solomon to Reese, and Makowsky to Markel. And Bohne, Cooney, Ewing, Kane, and Corey were all Cohens in the off-season.
When the American Jewish Historical Society published a set of baseball cards of Jews in the major leagues (in conjunction with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and with the support of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum), the project founder Martin Abramowitz of Jewish Major Leaguers Inc. relied on research by JSR. Also, when the Israel Baseball League was active, teams in it would recruit top college baseball players from the JSR's Jewish All-Americans in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III.
Jon Scheyer, later an All-American captain of the 2010 Duke national championship team, led his high school team of five Jewish starters to an Illinois state championship. Afterward, The Forward quoted Wallman as speculating that an all-Jewish starting lineup may have won a state title in the 1940s, but that it had not happened in the recent past.
In the media
Peter Horvitz, in The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History and The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars (2007), calls Wallman the "best and most dependable source of up-to-date information on the subject" of Jews in sports. Joseph Siegman, in his book Jewish Sports Legends: the International Jewish Hall of Fame (2005), listed Moxson as a distinguished authority on sports. The New York Times noted that JSR "aims to be rigorously comprehensive". Sports Illustrated called JSR "tireless in its service mission".
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