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Feb 6 2014

Here’s to the Three Jewish American Male Figure Skaters at the Sochi Olympics

By at 5:04 pm
Charlie White with ice dancing partner Meryl Davis

Charlie White with ice dancing partner Meryl Davis

 

First, I was a figure skating fan, then I was a figure skating TV researcher/producer, then I was a figure skating mystery novelist, and currently I’m a hodge-podge of all the above.

I am referencing my C.V. in order to explain why, while I don’t know the total number of Jews on Team USA for the Sochi Olympics, I do know that there are three of them in the figure skating delegation: two-time World Ice Dancing Champion and defending Olympic silver medalist Charlie White, singles skater Jason Brown, and pairs skater Simon Shnapir. (Ladies’ singles skater Gracie Gold is, alas, not Jewish, despite the name.)

That’s right, the US is being represented at the Olympics by three nice, Jewish boys. The latter actually emigrated from Moscow as a toddler.

It stands to reason. Figure skating is a huge sport in Russia. It’s a huge sport in America, too. But, primarily for girls. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 10 2013

Interview with Interesting Jews: Judy & Tamir “Jewish Jordan” Goodman

By at 2:07 pm

judyjudy copy

Since retiring from playing professional basketball in 2009, Tamir Goodman, known as the “Jewish Jordan,” has been steadily on the go. Tamir and his wife, Judy, have four kids, founded the non-profit Coolanu Israel, and co-wrote The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat together. Individually, Tamir created Sport Strings Tzitzit and partners in the Omri Casspi Basketball Camps, and Judy works for various companies–as well as writes, runs, and cooks.

I got to chat with the couple about playing sports with their kids, writing a book together, and their day-to-day life as parents.

Tamir, what do you miss most about playing professionally?

I was fortunate to live out my dream of playing Division I college and professional basketball without playing on Shabbat. I played until injuries prevented me from physically being able to compete anymore. I love the game and I definitely miss playing it, but I never played just for the love of the game; I always played for the larger purpose of representing Israel and Judaism on the court.

Fortunately, I am able to continue this mission even after my playing days have ended through my Coolanu Israel basketball camps, clinics, development of my basketball products like sport Strings Tzitzit and Zone190, and my recently published book, The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat.

Do you ball with your kids? What sports are they into?

As a coach (Tamir) and soon-to-be certified personal trainer (Judy), we both recognize how important it is for kids to be active. With this in mind, we play lots of different sports–not just basketball. Some days we ride bikes, or play catch, or go to the playground. We even play sport games in the house when the weather is too cold to go outside. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 6 2013

When One Son Wins an Award & The Other Son is Jealous

By at 11:59 am

prizemoneyhoney

My middle child won an award last week. It wasn’t a Pulitzer, an Oscar, or a Nobel, but it did come with a ceremony and a cash prize. And it did prompt his older brother to whine, “How come he always wins everything and I never win anything?”

I took a moment to remind my son that the previous few months had been more or less a non-stop party dedicated to the theme of: Yay, You Got into NYC’s Top Public High School.

“That’s not the same,” he pouted. “I never get prizes for the things I do.”

I noted that he’d won the handwriting prize at school–twice! (Anyone remember the book/movie The Bad Seed where the mother laments, “What kind of school gives out only one award, and it’s for penmanship!”)

I recalled that he was picked to be featured in an art exhibition where he was the sole child among adults (my husband observed at the time, “I think we’ve got the only artist here with a bedtime.”). Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 16 2013

Where Are Today’s Heroes?

By at 9:49 am

mickey mantleToday, there are no heroes.

We had Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, and Willis Reed. My grandchildren have A-Rod, Ryan Braun, and Lance Armstrong.

We had Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. Today, we have David Petraeus and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Not to mention Anthony Wiener and Elliot Spitzer.

We had Golda Meir, Gloria Steinem, and Bella Abzug. Today’s young women have Sarah Palin and Sheryl Sandberg.

No more heroes, no more larger-than-life figures. Now everyone’s clay feet (or entire clay bodies) are revealed. (Unlike the miscreants during my youth, who didn’t necessarily keep it in their pants, but were protected by a less intrusive fourth estate. Come to think of it, I’m grateful for that.)

We (figuratively and literally) looked up to the brave astronauts hurtling into space. Now, we don’t even know the names of who is going where, when, or for how long. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 11 2013

How I Went from a Baseball Hater to a Baseball Dad

By at 12:14 pm

little league baseballI am not a fan of baseball. I’ve never understood the draw of the game, and could never comprehend the passion people have for it. My closest friends from college are all crazy baseball fans; they’re involved with fantasy leagues, spending hours arguing over who has better players.

I didn’t get it. After all, I didn’t play baseball as a kid. I never watched it on TV. I never played catch with my dad, who was never around. My only real experience with baseball was occasionally–very occasionally–going to Shea or Yankee Stadium to see games with my camp or friends. We’d sit all the way at the top, in the cheap seats, directly in the summer sun. There we’d sit, broiling, as all the action occurred amongst the ants on the field far below.  In my opinion, a slower, duller game could not have been invented. Y-A-W-N. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2013

In Israel, Baseball is Too Babyish to Play

By at 2:05 pm

baseball mitt and baseballMy kids need little organized effort to enjoy our company. In our house, especially in spring, that often means tossing balls with Abba. My two youngest will ask Dov if he has time to play catch with them, and if his schedule isn’t on overload, he will say yes. Nothing could please them more.

There will be a rush to gather mitts, ball, and caps. You can hear the buzz in their voices, and the rushed breathing of boys as they put on their sneakers. I glance outside the window from my workstation, and watch them wait at the curb for their Abba to pick them up, looking down at the ground, shuffling their feet, kicking stones with their toes, with only an occasional hopeful glance upward, just being boys. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 18 2013

We Lost a Hero in Lance Armstrong

By at 11:57 am

Like many, I planned on tuning into Oprah’s exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong last night. And I was dreading it.

I was dreading it because I am angry with him.

I was dreading it because I really looked up to the guy.

I was dreading it because I was afraid that his responses would be full of sanctimonious excuses and trite apologies.

I was dreading it because no matter what others claimed over the years, I actually believed him when he swore that he wasn’t doping. That others were jealous, vindictive, and publicity-mongering.

Who is a hero? Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 7 2013

News Roundup: Ear Infections & Atheism

By at 3:50 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic to your child for an ear infection, they may be doing so without cause. Sometimes the best thing to do is wait out the infection, instead of ineffectively treating it with drugs. (But no word on exactly how you should deal with a kid in agony.) (Slate)

- One mom reflects on what it’s like to move through a few religious identities and end up with nothing, raising her children without religion. (Boston Magazine)

- The parents of the two Manhattan children murdered by their nanny in October have spoken out on their Facebook page about their loss and living with their one living child. (Yahoo news)

- Teens on sports teams and teens who exercise have a more positive self image and greater self esteem than their less sports-oriented peers, but it’s unclear if this is causation or correlation (i.e. are more confident teens more likely to join sports teams, or does being on a sports team make teens more confident?). (NPR)

Nov 15 2012

Should My 8-Month-Old Already Be Competing?

By at 9:40 am

As he toweled off, my husband asked me, “How old do you think the youngest Floater ever was?”

My 8-month-old son, Carston, had just completed his first swim lesson as part of the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy (LKSA) at the JCC in Newton, Massachusetts. LKSA is a seven-level swimming program designed to teach kids to swim safely; it begins at level one, Splasher, continues on to Floater, then Kickers, and eventually ends with Flyers.

I’d been motivated to sign my little splasher up for safety reasons and, honestly, because I’d heard kids nap better after they swim. My husband, on the other hand, was ready for our son to become the next Michael Phelps—or more appropriately, Mark Spitz.  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 17 2012

I Send My Jewish Son to Catholic School

By at 10:05 am
baseball kid

My son Nicky at bat.

My son Nicky loves baseball. He’s really, really good at it.

Despite the looooong list of Jews who made it big in baseball, we were shocked to learn our town was not overflowing with Jewish schools that have viable baseball programs. My husband’s old Catholic school, however, (“The Hall”) has a very well-respected baseball program. So does another Catholic school nearer to us (“The Mount”). Mark Teixeira is a hometown boy who went to The Mount. We forgive his playing for the Yankees. Read the rest of this entry →

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