Kaplan's Korner

Jews are known as "the people of the book," but they're also the people of the ball and bat and net. Kaplan's Korner, a new blog from New Jersey Jewish News, is dedicated to bringing the latest sports news and commentary on Jews in sport at a local, national, and international level.

Kaplan's Korner on Jews and Sports © 2016 New Jersey Jewish News

Ban champ Tyson Fury from boxing over anti-Semitic comments, ex-titlist Wladimir Klitschko says

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Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:07:48 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

Former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko called for his successor to the crown, Tyson Fury, to be banned from boxing over anti-Semitic, homophobic, and sexist comments.

Yesaterday (June 23), Klitschko described the remarks in May by Fury, who took the Ukrainian’s title in November, as “Hitler-like.”

Fury, 27, of Britain, was filmed warning viewers not to be “brainwashed” by Zionist Jews, who he said own all the banks and media. He later apologized for the remarks.

“I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people he sounded like Hitler. The man is an imbecile. Seriously,” Klitschko told the British media. “You cannot put it all together as a representation of the sport of boxing. He’s an imbecile champion.”

Fury and Klitschko will meet in a rematch for the world championship next month in the British city of Manchester.

Very nice, but where’s the mezuza?

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Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:44:45 | by Ron Kaplan

Like the author of this Forbes piece, I’m usually anti-advertising when it comes to these kinds of “sponsorships.” But I’ll forgive because of the ending.


JML update, games of June 23, 2016

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Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:00:46 | by Ron Kaplan

Another typically quiet Thursday…

Ian Kinsler  may be struggling at the plate (1-4 with a walk) but he’s still heads-up enough to make this play against the visiting Seattle Mariners to prevent a run from scoring. Kinsler was at bat in the 10th when the Tigers won on a wild pitch. Final score, Tigers 5, Mariners 4.

Danny Valencia was 1-3 and made a nice defensive move to help the Oakland Athletics hold off a late charge by the host LA Angels, 5-4.

Up this weekend:

  • Ike Davis, Richard Bleier, and the NY Yankees host the Minnesota Twins
  • Joc Pederson and the LA Dodgers visit the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Kevin Pillar and the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Chicago White Sox
  • Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers host the Washington Nationals
  • Scott Feldman and the Houston Astros visit the KC Royals
  • Valencia and the As continue their series against the Angels
  • Kinsler and the Tigers host the Cleveland Indians

A surprising first

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Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:41:30 | by Ron Kaplan

Yeah, I know I said hockey was over, but there were a couple of last minute items I wanted to mention before I forgot.

First, there’s going to be a new team… in Las Vegas. Some people think it’s silly to have an ice hockey situation in a hot weather town: Phoenix; Tampa Bay; San Jose; Sunrise, Florida (where?) But just think of it as a movie theater with air conditioning. I mean, it’s not like they play outside. Much.

But the odd thing is literal: there are now 31 teams. That must play havoc with the schedule-maker. I don’t know why they couldn’t have another city pony up for a franchise.

Second, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks became the first American to win the M.V.P. award. And don’t tell me Canadians are American, too. You know what I mean.

I find this amazing. They’ve been handing out the Hart Trophy since 1924 and this is the first time?? Wow.

The most wonderful time of the year

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Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:21:27 | by Ron Kaplan

For me, at least.

Basketball season, over.

Hockey season, done.

Football season, not yet.

Soccer, IDC (I don’t care, for those over 25).

Just sayin’.

What kind of Olympics are we talking here?

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Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:31:16 | by Ron Kaplan

So Steph Curry, late of the Golden State Warriors, says he will not play for Team USA  in the Rio Olympics because of the Zika Vuris situation. Same goes for champion golfer Rory McElroy says he won’t participate. And, according to the Associated Press, “there is a growing group of [tennis] absentees, including Dominic Thiem, a 19-year-old rising star from Austria who is ranked No. 8…. Also staying away: the top American man, John Isner, who is ranked 17th; Australia’s two best players, No. 18 Nick Kyrgios and No. 19 Bernard Tomic; No. 21 Feliciano Lopez of Spain; and No. 24 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.”

That’s just the latest recap for athletes who have to carefully weigh whether to take a chance of contracting the disease, or go for a shot at  Olympic glory. Hard choice to make, especially for those who are you and have that arrogance of invincibility that goes with the territory for the elite athlete. (By the way, the same thought processes are going through the minds of all the non-athletes — the broadcasters, TV crews, reporters, etc.

Add to that the recent ban on Russian athletes and we might wind up with an “inferior product,” kind of like when the United States refused to attend the Moscow Games in 1980. Will we have second-tier swimmers and gymnasts who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity? 

Will this be the death of the Games? After all, it’s getting more and more expensive to host them. There was a great deal of controversy over the selection of Brazil. Critics cited infrastructural problems and a poor economy that just couldn’t sustain such a project, not to mention the usual hand-wringing over spending the money so frivolously when so many of their citizens live in  poverty. (I may be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised in Montreal still hasn’t finished paying for the event held there in 1976.) And that doesn’t even take into consideration the cloud of terrorism.

Thor? What kind of a name is that for a nice Jewish boy?

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Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:52:06 | by Ron Kaplan

Yet the newest viral sensation, “Mini-Thor,” is actually Ashtin Gerberg, the five-year-old grandson of Alan, Gerberg, a gentleman who used to work upstairs at the Jewish Federation of MetroWest NJ. I saw the video of him  kibitzing with his doppelganger and the rest of the team but since I had never  heard the kid’s name mentioned, didn’t think any more of it.

Thor is the nickname of the golden-tressed Mets pitching sensation, Noah Syndergaard.

Ashtin visited Citi Field yesterday where he threw out the first pitch:

There’s a longer video of him out there hanging around pre-game. Had I realized who he was when I saw it, I would have saved it. Google it.

By the way, the kid must be genetically predisposed to his skilzz: I played against his grandpa in the local synagogue league for a couple of years.

JML update, games of June 22, 2016

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Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:02:52 | by Ron Kaplan

Ryan Braun had two hits and struck out three times in five at bats for the Milwaukee Brewers in their 4-2 win over the host Oakland Athletics. Danny Valencia was 1-4 for the As.

Kevin Pillar was 1-3 for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 5-2 win over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.

Ian Kinsler had a single in five at bats for the Detroit Tigers, who beat the visiting Seattle Mariners, 5-1.

Joc Pederson was 0-3 with a walk in a weird and wild win for the LA Dodgers over the visiting Washington Nationals. You have to have some rachmones for Michael Taylor, the outfielder who let the ball get by him. He had already struck out five times in that game.

Scott Feldman pitched another scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit, as the Houston Astros held off the visiting LA Angels, 3-2.

Ike Davis was a defensive replacement in the NY Yankees’ come-from-behind, walk-off 9-8 win over the visiting Colorado Rockies. The Yankees are “souring” on  him already? What’s he been on the team, a week? Richard Bleier did not pitch for the Yankees.

The cynics club

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Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:47:15 | by Ron Kaplan

And I’m the president.

Does anyone really believe reality shows are really real? I’m not even talking about stuff like The Bachelor, Big Brother, the Real Housewives franchise or any of the Kardashian nonsense. Or shows that are supposed to be competitive (Idol, X-Factor, So You Think You Can Fill-in-the-Blank, et al ad naseum). Judging talent is so subjective.

I’m specifically looking at athletic competitions, which have me scratching my head. Like this one, America Ninja Warrior, which now boasts “an Orthodox Jew and rabbinical student at Yeshiva University.”

Akiva Neuman, 25, is a contestant on this program and I can’t help get the feeling that he was selected as much — if not totally — for the fact that he “wore tzitzit and a kippah throughout the competition.” Wow, look, America, Jews are athletic! They plays sports! They’re tough! What is this, the 1920s? Do we have to go through the whole Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg ting again, proving that when you get down to it, Jews aren’t that different?

Anyway, here’s the JTA story. I might have had a tiny tiny bit more faith in the piece if they didn’t include the Saturday Night Live skit.



Birthday greetings, Omri Casspi

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Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:30:07 | by Ron Kaplan

The NBA’s first Israeli player turns 28 today. In his honor, here are a few recent stories.


JML update, games of June 20-21, 2016

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Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:24:59 | by Ron Kaplan

Since I missed the Monday lineup because of vacation, here’s another gift to you. You’re welcome.


Ian Kinsler took another 0-fer, going hitless in five at bats for the Detroit Tigers in their 12-inning, 8-7 win over the visiting Seattle Mariners.

Scott Feldman did not pitch for the Houston Astros in their 10-7 win over the visiting LA Angels.

Joc Pederson his his second home run in three days (and 13th on the year), helping the LA Dodgers beat the visiting Washington Nationals, 4-1. Clayton Kershaw improved to 11-1 but a highly anticipated match-up failed to materialized when Nat’s ace Stephen Strasburg  was scratched with a bad back.



Richard Bleier pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for the NY Yankees in their 8-4 loss to the host Colorado Rockies. Bleier gave up two hits and struck out two. Ike Davis did not appear in the game.

Kevin Pillar drove in both runs for the Toronto Blue Jays with his 18th double of the season in their 4-2 loss to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. he also made one of his signature defensive plays:


Danny Valencia was 2-4 with his eighth double as the Oakland Athletics beat the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 5-3.  He was also hit on the hand by a pitch, which, as the announcers always remind us, is always problematic since there are so many small bones that could be damaged. Stay tuned. Ryan Braun was 2-4 with his 14th double, a run scored and his 38th RBI for the Brew Crew.

Kinsler was 2-4 and drove in the game-tying run in the seventh inning. The Tigers would go on to beat the Mariners, 4-2.

Pederson was 2-2 (including double #16) with a walk and a run scored as the Dodgers held off the Nationals, 3-2, scoring all of their runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Feldman did not pitch in the Astros’ 3-2 win over the Angels.

Give them a minute, would you, for cryin’ out loud?

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Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:54:08 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

Israeli lawmaker calls on Cavs to give Blatt a championship ring

http://www.jta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/lebronblatt-1024x668.jpgFirst of all, shut up, Nachman Shai,of the Zionist Union Party, who wrote in a letter to Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert,

David played a key role in building the Cavaliers, guiding its players, and helping the team become championship-caliber. That is why I want to encourage you to give David the respect and credit he deserves by giving him a championship ring, as is customary for players who have left mid-season. I am sure he would cherish such a ring that would symbolize his part in your team’s success.

(To be honest, Blatt was handed a championship-caliber team when he signed on. It was actually a no-win situation when you think about it: if he won, people would say, “Well of course he won, look at the team he inherited.” And if he lost, it would have be, “How could he screw up so badly, given the team he inherited?”)

The celebratory hangovers probably aren’t over yet. We don’t need to be reminded by you how to give out the trophies. The rings will not be handed out until the beginning of next season. I am willing to bet cash money that Blatt will receive one, although it may not be at whatever ceremony the team hosts. As Shai points out, rewarding those who had a hand in a team’s success is traditional; why he thinks that wouldn’t apply to Blatt, who was dismissed in January despite having his team in first place (and with a better winning percentage than his successor, Tyronn Lew), is baffling.


JML update, weekend edition (games of June 17-19, 2016)

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Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:01:31 | by Ron Kaplan

Spent the Fathers Day weekend at a family reunion so haven’t been able to post until today, so here goes.

Ian Kinsler‘s slump continues. The Detroit Tigers’ second sacker managed just a lone single in 10 at bats in a three-game sweep by the host KC Royals. The Tigers were outscored 28-9 over the contests.

Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers also suffered a three-game sweep by their opponents. He had three hits, including his 12th double of the year, along with a stolen bases (and a caught-stealing) as the Brewers lost to the host LA Dodgers, 3-2, in 10 innings in Friday’s opener. The next day he cracked his 12th home run to close the scoring in a 10-6 loss. He finished up with a 2-4 Sunday (13th double) and a nifty throw to the plate for a double e in a 2-1 loss, the winning Dodger tally coming home on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Joc Pederson also homered in Saturday’s s game, for his 12th of the year, making the score 9-5. He had been hitless in Friday’s game and would repeat the feat on Sunday.

Kevin Pillar was 1-5 on Friday in a 13-3 Toronto Blue Jays win over the host Baltimore Orioles; 0-3 with a run scored in their 4-2 loss on Saturday; and 1-4 with a run in an 11-6 loss on Sunday. No web gems, either. If you’re in Toronto on July 24, why not go to the game (against the Seattle Mariners) and get a Kevin Pillar bobblehead doll?

Danny Valencia singled and doubled (No. 7) in four at bats as the Oakland Athletics on a walk-off, 3-2, on Friday against the visiting LA Angels. The next day, he had one single in three trips to the plate, driving in the As’ only run to give them a (very) short-lived lead in a 7-1 loss. he also made his 11th error at third. He was 0-3 on Sunday in a 2-0 loss. The latest Valencia trade rumor: coming to the Mets, which makes sense, given that David Wright may be out for the rest of the year as he recovers from neck surgery. Valencia is a more of a natural third abseman than anyone the Mets have now, plus he’s got some pop in his bat.

Ike Davis  entered the Friday game for the New York Yankees as a pinch runner (!) and singled in his subsequent at bat as they beat the host Minnesota Twins, 8-2. He was 0-3 with two strikeouts as the starting first baseman on Saturday in a 7-6 win. On Sunday, he was 1-3 with a run scored as a starter in a 7-4 loss. Reliever Richard Bleier did not appear in any of the games.

Scott Feldman  picked up his fourth win of the year by pitching two innings of scoreless relief as the Houston Astros beat the visiting Cincinnati Reds, 5-4, in 11 innings on Saturday. Feldman allowed two hits and struck out one. It was his only outing for the series.

David Beckham says he feels Jewish thanks to granddad

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Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:33:27 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

http://www.wikinoticia.com/images/blogcorazon/blogcorazon.com.files.2009.12.david-beckham-funeral.jpgFormer British soccer star David Beckham told a JCC audience in London that although he was not raised Jewish, he feels like a member of the tribe.

Beckham, 41, was asked last week at a public interview at the JW3 center, “Do you see yourself as Jewish in any way?”

He replied: “My grandfather was Jewish, that was on my mother’s side, so yes, I do see myself …”

The comment was interrupted by appreciative laughter before the iconic ex-player continued.

“I was never brought up Jewish, but like I said, my grandfather was, and every time we went to synagogue I was part of that,” Beckham said.

Beckham, who retired in 2013 and has a Hebrew-language tattoo on his left arm that reads “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” was known to be close to his maternal grandfather, who died in 2009 at 83. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player said his grandfather was his soccer “inspiration.”

Some 270 guests, who won tickets in a ballot, attended the Q&A with the former midfielder, who made several references to his Jewish grandfather. He said he was saddened by the fact that only his oldest son, Brooklyn, had strong memories of the grandfather.

“He is really the only one who remembers him,” Beckham said. “It was explained to him, obviously the religion, but he was very young.”

Beckham, who also played pro soccer in the United States and France, was appearing at JW3 in his capacity as a UNICEF ambassador, and made it clear his involvement with the charity — which now includes his own Seven Fund — is his main focus and “passion.” He returned from a trip to Swaziland last week.


Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team wins historic gold medal at European Championships

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Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:29:50 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team earned several medals — including a gold for the first time at an international competition — at the European Championships held on its home turf.

On Sunday, the Israelis won in the clubs and hoops category at the competition, which was held over the weekend in Holon, in central Israel.

A day earlier they won a silver for the team ribbons routine. On Friday, Israel took the bronze in the all-around category.

The team will travel this summer to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the Brazil Summer Olympics.

Dodgers sign Israeli in Major League first

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Tue, 21 Jun 2016 14:48:32 | by Ron Kaplan

From the JTA:

http://jewishbusinessnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Dean-Kremer-2.jpgDean Kremer, a right-handed pitcher, became the first Israeli to sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team.

The Dodgers signed Kremer, a 20-year-old Israeli American, on June 14after drafting him earlier this month in the 14th round.

Kremer, a native of Stockton, Calif., who was born to Israeli parents, became the first Israeli to be drafted by an MLB team last year when he was selected in the 38th round by the San Diego Padres. However, he did not sign with the team.

He transferred from San Joaquin Delta College to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he went 4-5 with a 4.92 ERA in 12 starts.

Kremer played for Israel’s national baseball team for the past three years. He was named the European baseball championship’s most valuable pitcher each of the last two years and led Israel out of the tournament’s C pool into the stronger B pool last year.

“I was born here in the United States, but I go back and practically live [in Israel] for two months out of the year in the summer, so it’s definitely home,” Kremer told the Las Vegas Review Journal in February.

Kremer will play this summer for the Dodgers’ Rookie League team, the lowest of six rungs in the minors for the National League club, Haaretz reported.

JML update, games of June 16, 2016

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Fri, 17 Jun 2016 13:27:41 | by Ron Kaplan

Kevin Pillar singled and homered twice (Nos. six and seven) — a solo shot in the seventh and a two-run job in the eighth — to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the host Philadelphia Phillies, 13-2. It was the second two-homer game of his career.

Pillar also gave an early Fathers Day gift to this guy:

Ian Kinsler was 1-5 with an RBI in the Detroit Tigers’ 10-4 win over the host KC Royals. The Tigers scored seven of those runs over the last three innings.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 with a run scored and a walk as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the host LA Dodgers, 8-6. Joc Pederson was also 1-4 with a run scored but added an RBI.

Ike Davis was 0-2 with a walk as the NY Yankees beat the host Minnesota Twins, 4-1. Richard Bleier did not pitch in the game for the Yankees.

Danny Valencia was 0-3 but so were most of the Oakland Athletics. Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis came within four outs of a perfect game, winning the outing, 5-1.

Jon Moscot got the start for the Cincinnati Reds’ AAA affiliate, the Louisville Bats, scattering six hits over six innings, allowing two runs, and striking out a pair in a 4-2 win over the Syracuse Chiefs. 

This weekend’s schedule:

  • Braun and the Brewers continue against Pederson and the Dodgers
  • Davis, Bleier, and the Yankees remain in Minnesota
  • Kinsler and the Tigers remain in KC
  • Pillar and the Jays visit their birdie opponents, the Baltimore Orioles
  • Valencia and the As host the LA Angels
  • Scott Feldman and the Houston Astros entertain the Reds

Top officials put a Jewish stamp on the Rio Olympics

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Fri, 17 Jun 2016 12:57:13 | by Ron Kaplan

Sure put the Jews in charge of the Games that are bound to have even more robems than usual. That way, if they fail, you know who to blame.

Anyway, from the JTA:

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Mazel tov! That’s perhaps how the big shots in charge of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the first to take place in South America, will toast victories when the competition gets underway Aug. 5.

Three of the top officials of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, including its president, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, are Jewish.

But in the run-up to the games, there have been more “oy gevalts” than mazel tovs as organizers deal with reports of unfinished venues, polluted swimming and sailing sites and, most of all, concerns about the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

In an interview with JTA, Nuzman said the number of Zika cases in Rio have dropped sharply in recent weeks, and are expected to fall even further during the dry months of the Brazilian winter, as Rio 2016 organizers emphasized at a news conference on June 7. Last month, the World Health Organization said there is no public health justification for postponing or canceling the Games.

“None of the top athletes have declared not to come. If there’s a second-layer one who won’t come, good for him,” an irritated Nuzman told JTA.

One of Brazil’s most prominent sports figures, Nuzman, 74, is a former president of the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation and has been president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee since 1995.

An aerial view of Rio 2016 Olympic Park during construction. (Gabriel Heusi/Brasil2016.gov.br)


Nuzman preferred to talk about the robust Jewish connections at the games, including a ceremony to honor the 11 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the Israeli company that is providing security for the games and his own deep ties — as an athlete, sporting official and Jew — to Brazilian sports.

“My connection with Judaism and with Israel is through sports,” said Nuzman, who was part of the first Brazilian male volleyball team in 1964  when the sport debuted at the Olympic Games. “I started my career playing at the Brazilian Israelite Club and I have attended four Maccabiah Games in Israel.”

The grandson of Russian immigrants, Nuzman was born in Rio, home to an estimated 40,000 Jews. He is an active member of the 440-family Conservative synagogue Congregacao Judaica do Brasil led by Rabbi Nilton Bonder, his nephew. Nuzman’s father, Izaak, presided over the Rio Jewish federation, the Hebraica Club and the local Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal.

“He was one the greatest leaders of our Jewish community. He brought [David] Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir to Brazil,” Nuzman boasted, noting the late prime ministers of Israel.

Nuzman relies on other prominent members of the local Jewish community as deputies. Sidney Levy, a business executive, is the Rio 2016 committee’s chief executive officer and has a $2.2 billion budget to manage. Leonardo Gryner, a communications and marketing director who was part of the Rio 2016 bid, is deputy CEO.

“I have no connection to sports at all,” Levy said in an interview published at the Keren Hayesod webpage. “My duty is totally business-related.”

The Jewish trio at the helm of Rio 2016 is behind the ceremony to honor the Munich victims. The Aug. 14 event at Rio’s City Hall will be co-led by the International Olympic Committee along with the Olympic committees of Israel and Brazil.

Four yeas ago, the IOC rejected appeals for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies of the London Games in 2012, the 40th anniversary of the tragedy. Critics at the time were not appeased by various events marking the anniversary that took place at other venues.

The IOC also announced a special area in the Rio Olympic Village to commemorate the memory of all Olympians who have died. In addition, a moment of reflection in honor of all dead Olympians will be held during the closing ceremony.

“There will be no minute of silence at the opening ceremony,” read an IOC note, frustrating a longtime request of families.

The widows of weightlifter Yossef Romano and fencing coach Andre Spitzer will instead light 11 candles at the City Hall event. The Israeli government will be represented by the minister of culture and sport, Miri Regev.

“The mayor will open the doors of his house in a gesture of great friendship with the Brazilian Jewish community and the whole people of Israel,” Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, told JTA. “We are deeply moved. Symbolically falling on Tisha b’Av, one of the saddest days of the Hebrew calendar, the event will be a unique moment.”

The security of the 12,000 athletes and anticipated 500,000 visitors is among the most sensitive issues for organizers, and the Israeli company International Security and Defense Systems, or ISDS, won the international tender to secure the games. ISDS has coordinated security at previous Olympics and World Cups, and will provide services from consulting to security supply systems.

“It’s an honor for ISDS to be the very first ever Israeli group to be part of the Olympic family,” Leo Gleser, ISDS president and a former Mossad agent, told JTA.

Last November, a French national identified as an executioner in ISIS propaganda videos tweeted, “Brazil, you are our next target.” Brazil’s counterterrorism director, Luiz Alberto Sallaberry, recognized the statement as credible.

“I can’t speak much about security or it won’t be security anymore,” Nuzman told JTA .

Brazil has long regarded itself as an unlikely target of extremists thanks to its historical standing as a nonaligned, multicultural nation. Security experts have warned that many Brazilian officials do not realize how big a stage the Olympics is for anyone seeking to sow terror.

Israel will make its 16th appearance at the Olympics by bringing to Rio its largest delegation ever, with nearly 50 athletes for the Olympics and another 50 for the 2016 Paralympic Games following immediately afterward. Some 10,000 Israelis are expected to make it to Rio to root for their national heroes. A temporary Israeli consulate will be established in Rio to serve the Israeli population during the games.

“The local Jewish community enjoys seeing the Olympics team in international cooperation with other countries. The federal police have very well trained staff. We are very optimistic,” Octavio Aronis, head of security of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, told JTA.

Rio’s Jewish federation president, Paulo Maltz, is more guarded.

“There is always a first time, it has happened twice in Argentina and Brazil is not free of it,” he told JTA, citing the Buenos Aires bombings of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish center in 1994. “We’ll be on total alert.”

Schools will be closed during the Olympics following a Rio municipality decision to move the winter school vacations from July to August, in large part to reduce traffic.

“It’s a relief,” Maltz said.

Those who make it to Rio will be able to take part in two special Shabbat ceremonies. Some 300 guests are expected at Bonder’s synagogue, including Regev, the Israeli sports minister. Chabad will host a Shabbat event during the Paralympics.

In a joint educational project around Rio 2016, students from four Jewish schools and four municipal public schools will produce a book about the Munich murders and the Olympic spirit.

“Children must understand the evil caused by terrorism,” said Sergio Niskier, one of the project organizers and a former Jewish federation president. “It’s fantastic to see Jewish schools and public schools from the municipality, despite their abyssal social and economic realities, working hand in hand in this project.”

The Israeli singer Ester Rada, whose parents were Ethiopian immigrants, will perform at official sites where fans can watch the sporting action on big screens.

“It’s an example of the polyvalent, multicultural aspect of the Jewish state, which is formed by over 70 different origins that make up the Israeli society,” said Wurman, the honorary consul.


The Jewish trio in charge of the Rio Olympics: Carlos Arthur Nuzman is flanked by Sidney Levy, left, and Leonardo Gryner, Nov. 9, 2012. (Marcio Rodrigues)

JML update, games of June 15, 2016

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Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:08:07 | by Ron Kaplan

A very meh day for the MOT. Ian Kinsler and Danny Valencia share “JML of the day honors.” Kinsler singled, was hit by a pitch, and scored a run in three at bats but the Detroit Tigers fell to the visiting Chicago White Sox, 5-3. Valencia was 1-4 with an RBI in the Oakland Athletics 7-5 loss to the visiting Texas Rangers.

Ike Davis was 0-3 as the starting first baseman for the NY Yankees in their 6-3 loss to the host Colorado Rockies. The good news: he didn’t get hurt. Richard Bleier did not appear for the Yankees.

Kevin Pillar was hitless in four at bats, but the Toronto Blue Jays still beat up on the host Philadelphia Phillies, 7-2.

Joc Pederson struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, but the LA Dodgers scored all their runs in the sixth to beat the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2.

The slumping Ryan Braun did not play for the Milwaukee Brewers in their 10-1 mauling by the host San Francisco Giants.

Scott Feldman did not appear for the Houston Astros in their 4-1 win over the host St. Louis Cardinals.


JML Update, Games of June 13 and 14, 2016

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Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:01:39 | by Ron Kaplan

Because I did a weekend wrap, I feel compelled to offer another covering Shavuot and yesterday in one neat package.

Because that’s just the kind of guy I am.

You’re welcome

Kevin Pillar was 0-4 in Monday’s 7-0 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies. yesterday, he added another MOT homer (#5) with two singles to help the Toronto Blue Jays to an 11-3 win over Philly.

Ian Kinsler homered on the second pitch of Monday’s game against the host Chicago White Sox. It was his 14th of 2016  and the 34th time he’s led off the game in such a fashion (second this season). But the Tigers ended up losing 10-9 in 12 innings. It was the third straight game in which he homered. Kinsler connected in  four straight games in May. He hit just 11 all of last year. He has a chance to beat his personal best — 31 in 2009. homers. Yesterday he was 1-6 with a run scored as the Tigers beat the Sox, 11-8.

Joc Pederson was 1-3 with a walk for the LA Dodgers in their 3-2 loss to the host Arizona Diamondbacks. Last night, he added to what has to be a record-setting period when he went deep twice (two solo shots) in a 7-4 Dodgers win. The first one came in the fifth to break up Archie Bradley’s no-hit bid. The next (No. 11) came in the next frame. He also made this nifty catch in the seventh.

He had done something similar on Monday…

Danny Valencia singled twice in five at bats on Monday, scoring three times and driving in one run. He also made two errors but the Oakland Athletics scored 13 runs over three innings to defeat the visiting Texas Rangers, 14-5. He went 1-4 with a run scored (and another error; 10 in total this year) in a 10-6 loss.

Ryan Braun was 1-5 for the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday in their 11-5 loss to the host San Francisco Giants. Yesterday he was hitless, striking out twice, in a 3-2 loss. Braun is batting just .152 over his last 15 games. Have to wonder if he’s still suffering back issues and is just trying to play through them.

Scott Feldman did not pitch in last night’s 5-2 Houston Astros win over the host St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros were off on Monday.

Richard Bleier had his first rough outing for the NY Yankees, giving up three runs on five hits in one inning for work in a 13-10 loss to the host Colorado Rockies. The Bombers made it interesting, though, scoring seven runs in the eighth. Ike Davis returned to the Majors in style, driving in the Yankees’ fourth run on a pinch-hit broken-bat single in the inning and scoring a run. He remained in the game and struck out in a subsequent at bat. Sorry, but I just don’t that uniform is a good look for him. Nor does that clean-shaven thing.