Jewish Jocks

An Unorthodox Hall of Fame


Edited by Franklin Foer

Edited by Marc Tracy

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A collection of essays by today’s preeminent writers on significant Jewish figures in sports, told with humor, heart, and an eye toward the ever elusive question of Jewish identity.

Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame
is a timeless collection of biographical musings, sociological riffs about assimilation, first-person reflections, and, above all, great writing on some of the most influential and unexpected pioneers in the world of sports. Featuring work by today’s preeminent writers, these essays explore significant Jewish athletes, coaches, broadcasters, trainers, and even team owners (in the finite universe of Jewish Jocks, they count!).

Contributors include some of today’s most celebrated writers covering a vast assortment of topics, including David Remnick on the biggest mouth in sports, Howard Cosell; Jonathan Safran Foer on the prodigious and pugnacious Bobby Fischer; Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson writing elegantly on Marty Reisman, America’s greatest ping-pong player and the sport’s ultimate showman. Deborah Lipstadt examines the continuing legacy of the Munich Massacre, the fortieth anniversary of which coincided with the 2012 London Olympics. Jane Leavy reveals why Sandy Koufax agreed to attend her daughter’s bat mitzvah. And we learn how Don Lerman single-handedly thrust competitive eating into the public eye with three pounds of butter and 120 jalapeño peppers. These essays are supplemented by a cover design and illustrations throughout by Mark Ulriksen.

From settlement houses to stadiums and everywhere in between, Jewish Jock features men and women who do not always fit the standard athletic mold. Rather, they utilized talents long prized by a people of the book (and a people of commerce) to game these games to their advantage, in turn forcing the rest of the world to either copy their methods — or be left in their dust.


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By Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy

The first Jewish Jocks were traitors to the faith. Across ancient Palestine, the Greeks had planted gymnasia, so that they'd have places to roll around naked. To win admittance into these clubs, Jews would crumple their penises into their foreskins and hold them in place with sutures. If that weren't transgression enough, the pregame ceremony for these wrestling matches entailed tossing incense at the feet of idols and singing anthems in their honor. Perhaps this explains why one book of the Maccabees describes the construction of a Jerusalem sports stadium in the same breath as intermarriage: both were "evil ways."

Jewish ambivalence over sports continued through the ages. Rabbis might occasionally extol physical vigor, but those pronouncements revealed an unspoken hostility. The Talmud urges fathers to teach their sons to swim, but only so they don't drown; the good old doctor Maimonides put in a plug for regular exercise, but he pointedly said nothing to encourage competition. It was the goyim who played ball, and the rabbis who sensed that sports were a gateway to assimilation. Not that the Gentiles wanted to let Jewish Jocks into their games. The great medieval tournaments, the ultimate sports spectacle of that era, excluded Jews when the organizers were in a benevolent mood. In Rome and Sicily, the Italians mounted their Jewish neighbors like horses and rode them in mock jousts.

When Jews talked about sports, in other words, they were really talking about Jewish survival. And it took the arrival of Zionism for Jews to finally develop a coherent response, a program that called for the creation of Musklejudentum (muscle Jews). A little pioneer work in the Galilee, with perhaps some calisthenics in the morning and soccer in the afternoon, would turn them into beefcake whom no Cossack would mess with.

It was a nice idea, but it didn't entirely solve the problem. Even in America, where there's every reason to feel comfortably at home, the anxiety over sports persists: namely, the fear that we aren't terribly good at it. This anxiety is the grist for an overworked subgenre of Jewish humor, and it is one reason that while watching sports or reading about it, American Jews perform the strange, strained ritual of attempting to identify the Jews on the field: Is that Epstein on the offensive line really, you know, an Epstein?

But maybe Jews would feel differently if they knew that, as much as Hollywood, modern sports are a product of the Jewish imagination.

When the immigrants from eastern Europe flooded New York City in the early twentieth century, they were greeted by the Manhattan equivalent of the old Hellenizers: the German-Jewish aristocrats, those Loebs and Schiffs, who had long ago secured a nice place for themselves within the WASP establishment. The German Jews hoped a little bit of athletics might make the young immigrants less hunched and pale—or pathetic and embarrassing—than their shtetl-born fathers. So they invested a sliver of their fortunes in settlement houses and community centers, which often housed large, well-equipped gymnasia. By 1942, an unpublished government memorandum on immigrant life in New York, discovered by the historian Peter Levine, noted that Jews had more gyms "than any other group."

If the German Jews were eager to remake the young Jews as jocks, the young Jews were clamoring to be remade. But even when they played American games, they played them differently. The Jews might not be the most robust physical specimens, but they were certainly clever. They could beat you with their fakes and their slipperiness; they played with finesse rather than physicality. You could read these descriptions, which were de rigueur in the (gentile) press, as flattering testaments to the intelligence of the Jewish people, or you could espy an ugly subtext that the likes of Henry Ford would explicitly blurt out.

Still, it was hard to argue with the trophy cases. In early-twentieth-century America, city dwelling was the quintessential mode of life; the quintessential city was New York; and the quintessential New Yorkers were Jews. That meant that the urban sports of boxing and basketball were bound to take off, and that when they did, Jews would already be there to ferry their arrival into the big time. Between the two world wars, there were twenty-six Jewish boxing champions, including two of the greatest fighters of the era, Benny Leonard and Barney Ross. Even after the Jewish boxer mostly disappeared, Jews remained as the sport's paramount trainers and journalists, as well as the owners of the company, Everlast, that manufactured all the gear. And basketball was a majority-owned subsidiary of New York Jewish culture, which supplied many of the stars, more of the important minds, and even a style of play, the City Game, that was created to allow smarter, shorter players to triumph over bigger, brawnier ones. The City Game's emphasis on relentless motion and constant passing emerged as the template for the modern playbook.

This pattern was repeated across sports that didn't even have urban pedigrees. Take football. It was two Jews—Benny Friedman and Sid Luckman—who invented the quarterback position as we know it, the guy who orchestrates the offense and flings the ball (a pigskin, no less!) down the field. It was the San Diego Chargers' Sid Gilman and his assistant Al Davis who refined the passing game and, along the way, helped create the archetype of the film-room obsessive. Which is to say nothing of the Jews who created the modern players' union; the journalism and broadcast apparatus, which turned sports into full-fledged mass culture spectacle; and fantasy sports, which transformed the experience of fandom.

Jewish Jocks is, of course, a Jewish joke, but not in the way you might have thought. Benny Leonard, Sid Luckman, Hank Greenberg, Dolph Schayes, Sandy Koufax, Mark Spitz: they were no jokes (and around some of them, you wouldn't have wanted to imply otherwise). Nor are they, despite their physical prowess and appearance, best understood as anomalies. Their stories are no less in keeping with the many-times-told tale of exceptional diaspora Jews' restless entanglement within their host cultures than are those of Louis B. Mayer, I.B. Singer, George Gershwin, Gloria Steinem, Richard Feynman, Serge Gainsbourg, Natalie Portman, Rahm Emanuel, and the Ramones.

The joke, rather, is that our pantheon includes people who, in some cases, couldn't even run the bases: the gangster who helped fix the World Series; the idealistic ping-pong player; the nerdy general manager. They get to be counted too: not only as Jews, which is perhaps the most obvious thing about them, but as Jocks, which perhaps isn't.

American Jews have narrated their own success story, of how they triumphed in a meritocracy of brains; and the history of the Jewish Jock is entirely consistent with this. These men and women utilized the talents long prized by a people of the book (and a people of commerce) to game these games to their advantage, in turn forcing the rest of the world either to copy their methods or be left on the outside looking in.

This book was born in a world far from the settlement houses, and also far from the modern stadium. We both come from the same place—the same Washington neighborhoods of lawyers and federal bureaucrats; the same synagogue; the same progressive, heavily Jewish day school with a grasshopper for a mascot and no football team. And we both became journalists with primary focuses outside of sports. Yet, as we suspect will be the case for many of this book's readers, the subject of Jews and sports was almost always at the forefront of our minds—and why not? It would be as absurd to ask us to enjoy sports without engaging our Jewishness as it would be to ask us to live our lives without engaging our love of sports. So we have gone ahead and made Howard Cosell a Jewish Jock. If you want to blast that out of the park, be warned: it's our curveball, the only kind we know how to throw—in part because, when we were kids, we never did learn the traditional kind.

The King's Pugilist

Daniel Mendoza (1764–1836)

By Simon Schama

Apparently, he was the king's kind of Jew. For there they were on the terrace at Windsor, Farmer George and Daniel Mendoza chatting away (insofar as the king was given to chat) like old comrades in arms. No Jew had ever got this close to the royal presence, not in England, not even when he had chests of treasure to set at the feet of some maddened Plantagenet warlord. The king was not much interested in the common sort of Jew: the stooped sage, the sawing fiddler, or the paunchy Goldsmid. But that most curious and compelling improbability, a sporting bare-knuckle Jew, one who had knocked down the paragon Richard Humphries, the gentleman boxer himself—now, that was an altogether different story. Secluded as he was, and sometimes a little troubled in his wits, the king could still scarcely avoid the Mendoza circus. The Jew's praises were sung on Drury Lane stages, and in common taverns. His swarthy face, broad chest, and burly limbs were painted onto mugs, engraved into rummers and tankards; there were even Mendoza medallions punched out by Thomas Spence circulating in the coffeehouses of the city. He was, in the words of Boxiana, "a brilliant star," and there was no escaping his light, "The Light of Israel," as his own people called him. Besides, the celebration of Mendoza the Jew was the only matter on which the king and the Prince of Wales could ever agree!

To tell the truth, Daniel, barely thirty, was already past his best when he and King George III exchanged the time of day. His triumph over Humphries had not come without cost to his person, and subsequent bouts with Bill Warr (won) and John Jackson (lost) had taken their toll. Never mind that Jackson had conducted himself most unsportsmanlike, gripping Mendoza's curly black locks the better to subject him to a hammering. For all his prizes, the money had run from him like quicksilver, so he was obliged to turn publican at the Lord Nelson in Whitechapel, just as he had once been glass cutter, seller of tea, fruit, and vegetables—and would be any other thing too if it would put food on the table for his agitated wife and the six little Mendozas, with another one due to bow into the world. Well, he would be amiss not to make something of his encounter with Farmer George, and the Princess Royal begging him would he be so good as to let one of the princes aim a chubby fist at him so the boy could say that once he had landed a punch on the great Daniel Mendoza? Daniel stuck out his barrel of a chest and let the little fellow take a pat at him, and all parted, the prince and the pugilist, in uncommon good sorts.

Which was as well, for merriment thereafter would be in short supply as funds.

The Quality had been surprised, Daniel supposed, to find a Jew able to stand his ground and knock down the likes of Harry the Coalheaver and Butcher Martin, but then they had a straightened notion of what Jews, his sort of Jews at any rate, were like. Let them come to the Mile End Road and there would be no shortage of dark-haired lads ready to give the lie and pretty quick too to the commonplace that his race were nothing better than knuckle-cracking misers, wispy-bearded dotards, shuffling hawkers of oranges and rags with greasy ringlets falling down their faces. Was he not a Mendoza? The very name itself proclaimed his family's wanderings from Spain through whatever sanctuary they could find until they fetched up in London. They weren't all grand, the Sephardim, not all wigs and slippers sitting on their benches in Bevis Marks taking their ease under the brass chandeliers, treating themselves to a pinch of Turkey snuff between the amens. His kind of Sephardim had to know the ways of the street, otherwise they would be prey for all kinds of scoundrels: press gangs and the lousy seamen themselves; drunken rogues in the king's scarlet; runners and excise men on the look out to rob and kick a Jew or two for the sport of it and go roaring on their way.

Well, he owned to a quick temper, but what of it? You wouldn't last long on the Mile End Road if you didn't know how to take knocks and give them back double quick and with interest too. His father, may he rest, had wanted to make a glass cutter of him; but however much he tried to keep shy of trouble, the insults came, and was he to stand there and let them fall on him like clods, and he just as meek as could be? Not him, not Dan Mendoza. So there were brawls and spoils and flying fists however hard he tried to keep his temper, at the fruiterer where the gentry thought they could chivvy the master's wife or chuck her chin with impunity, seeing as she was of the Jewish persuasion. He saw them off well and good and didn't he give the rascals a thrashing when they asked for it, though he was but barely more than five foot six, all trim and nimble as he had to be? He had taught himself to be David to all those ginned-up Goliaths, with his fists for slung stones, and to duck and dip and sway and swerve when the adversary was bigger, which mostly he was, to know how to parry right quick and never leave his guard off his stomach. Balance was the trick of it, to draw a line in his mind straight down and keep centered, light on his feet; that's the way, and he didn't mind passing on his craft in his academy in Capel Court.

It was the stout porter who was the cause of him turning boxer. The fellow unloaded his chest at the tea merchant where Mendoza worked. Daniel was pleasant enough to offer him the price of a tankard for his pains, at which he took mighty offense, shouting for double, and grievously threatening the tea merchant cowering behind his scales. Since he was so eager for a settlement, Daniel proposed a reckoning outside with himself, and so they set about it, very much to the stout porter's disadvantage, who had supposed he would minister a thrashing to the boy as if trampling a beetle under his boot. A crowd had gathered, among them Mr. Richard Humphries no less, who was so taken with the sixteen-year-old lad's bantamcock spirit and the startling power of his blows that he stood second. And thereupon began their famous history.

Mr. Humphries was praised for gracefulness, his cool under a rain of blows, however heavy, the sudden force of his leveling right; Mr. Humphries the cynosure of the Quality, darling of the sporting gentry, even of the prince himself; the bookkeeper's pet, not that Daniel had anything but respect for him. It was to Humphries that he owed the bouts that had first brought him to the public's attention, that had won him his five-guinea purses. It was Humphries who had stirred the native confidence he had in his ability, so that it blossomed into something more: a sense that he might possess true and subtle intelligence of the fighter's craft.

So he let himself be brought along by Mr. Richard Humphries, through two fights with Tom Tyne, until his mentor brought him too close under his wing and proposed he be trained in an establishment in Epping Forest that, Daniel was mortified to discover, was nothing but a resort of license and dissipation—in sum, a bawdy house. From that day their understanding ended, but what began was something more notable: a contention all England hung on.

For this was a time when Britain was famished for heroes, since the king was, by fits and starts, not of sound mind and the prince a fat lecher and the late American war a base humiliation. The growling, riotous public wanted warriors and distraction. The manly art of pugilism gave it both—though Mendoza once saw two women boxing and thought it unseemly, but not so much that he didn't offer himself as second to the better of them.

He was like the thousands who saw him except in the one respect that was his draw: he was the Jew. He was novelty, a surprise, quite other than the parade of hulking soldier boys, tapsters, butchers, and grooms, sandy-haired blue-eyed brawlers who staggered broken-brained about the sawdust and the blood. Had Humphries taken him on because he had thought to profit from his difference, or because he had seen something new in boxing: a lad who used his wits as much as his fists? Or perhaps he had known the two matters were part and parcel: the Jew of cunning; the Jew who stooped to conquer, his uppercut (whoever had seen such a thing?) a shot from below and yet never a foul; a Jew who stood his ground whatever was thrown at him, waiting for the Coalheaver or the Butcher to slacken and tire before delivering the fatal blow like a snake from its nest? Surely, at least Humphries had known how the public would love a tournament of fair and dark: the Gent and the Hebrew, the erect and the supple. Now they would get what they wanted.

"Perhaps few men have disregarded training more than I have," Mendoza wrote in his Memoirs twenty-eight years later, so it is unlikely he abandoned tea despite its "being of a nervous quality." Nor did he have much need to sweat off the pounds as others did. At a hundred and sixty he was already light for the fight, a middleweight up against a beefy heavy. They would fight according to Broughton's Rules, promulgated in 1743 and just seven of them, mostly concerned with who was on the stage, how many umpires (two), how the purse was divided (two-thirds to the winner), and that "no Champion be declared beaten unless he fails coming up the line in the limited time or that his own Second declares him beaten." As for foul blows the Rules had little to say other than "no person is to hit his Adversary when he is down or seize him by the ham, the breeches or any part below the waist." That left a lot of the body as fair target, including, to Mendoza's later cost, the hair. And throwing, wrestling-style, was expected.

The world seemed to know of the bad feeling between the two former friends, for much of it attempted to crowd into the Hampshire paddock on January 9, 1788, to see them have at it. "No sporting kid that could muster the blunt [money] was absent," recounted the dean of boxing writing Pierce Egan, "distance was out of the question and weather was no object… within an hour previous to the battle the assemblage collected together in one spot was truly astonishing and irresistible." The price of admission was half a guinea, and since some of the proceeds went to the fighters, toughs with shillelaghs were hired to evict "intruders." It didn't work. So many pressed against them "that the door keepers were soon lost by the violence of the torrent and thousands never gave themselves any trouble as to the expense of admission. All was noise, uproar and confusion."

Humphries arrived first onstage, glamorous in fancy flannel drawers and white stockings spangled in gold, acknowledging the plaudits with "genteel deportment." Mendoza's appearance by contrast was "plain and neat," and in his corner was Team Jew from Whitechapel: David Benjamin as his second, Mr. Jacobs as his bottle-holder, a Mr. Moravia as his chosen umpire. It had been raining and the boards of the stage were slippery. After "elegant" exchanges of thrusts and parries, "one of the richest treats ever exhibited in this noble and manly art," Mendoza landed the first blow, but on the recoil slipped on the boards. In the rounds that followed, the Jew seemed to triumph, knocking Humphries down six times, throwing him too. A great deal of cash suddenly switched bets, inadvisably as it turned out. Later Mendoza would complain that, close to exhaustion from the pounding, Humphries extended the agreed-on thirty-second break between rounds on the pretext of tying new shoes, and there was no question that a potential knockout blow was caught by Humphries's second but disregarded. The escape made him bolder and he threw Mendoza, smashing his nose and cutting his forehead. Humphries "put in a doubler upon the loins" of Mendoza (contrary to the Broughton Rules), followed by "one in the neck." Falling, Mendoza sprained his ankle and in the twenty-eighth minute of the fight conceded. He had lost but had won admiration for his "quick hitting" and close fighting. That didn't worry Humphries. "Sir," he wrote to a friend, "I have done the Jew and am in good health."

Mendoza for his part felt he had been cheated of victory. And he lost no time letting The World have his account of it. The fighting words between the two men continued for weeks, every installment delighting the pleasure of the country, which now divided between them. "The newspapers teemed with anecdotes concerning them; pamphlets were published in favour of pugilism and scarcely a print-shop in the Metropolis but what displayed the set-to in glowing colours, and portraits of those distinguished heroes of the fist." He was not, one wag had it, "the Jew/That Shakespeare drew." What was already noticed was that, as Egan's Boxiana had it, "DAN was most undoubtedly a new and prominent feature in pugilism," inaugurating the rope-a-dope (just exactly as Ali would do), tiring his opponent, and then moving in for the kill. "Mendoza was considered one of the most elegant and scientific Pugilists in the whole race of Boxers and might be termed a complete artist."

Six months later Humphries appeared without warning at Mendoza's boxing academy in Capel Court. Daniel was ill and in mourning for the death of a child. Humphries leapt into the ring and taunted him for ducking a second bout, Mendoza replying, "You cannot suppose I am afraid of you," but insisting he was too sick to fight at present but as soon as he was restored to good health would be pleased to give his adversary satisfaction. It was all delivered lightly, but Mendoza was smoldering with rage at being humiliated in his own academy. He knew the song:

My Dicky was all the delight of half the genteels in the town

Their tables were scarcely compleat unless my Dicky sat down

So very polite, so genteel, such a soft complaisant face

What a damnable shame to be spoil'd by a curst little Jew from Duke's Place.

They met again while revolution was stirring across the Channel, in May 1789, at Stilton, Huntingdonshire, in a pavilion erected just for the rematch. Perhaps this time Mendoza had indeed been in training, since from the start he had the better of it. In the first round Humphries threw a fierce facer, but Mendoza stopped the punch on his arm and returned it with a blow that leveled his opponent. Nothing after that Humphries could do made any impression. In the twenty-second round Humphries fell without a blow being landed. Broughton's Rules declared this a move foul enough to lose the fight, but Humphries's side insisted he had stopped a blow before falling. "Tongues were in full and violent motion"; a riot nearly broke out. Mendoza declared the fight was over, Humphries that it should go on, so the Jew swallowed his principles, resumed, and knocked the Gentleman down over and over until at length he did fall without a punch, losing the bout. One of Humphries's eyes was closed, his lip and forehead lacerated. Mendoza had a cut cheek but nothing else, although he had darted away from low blows to his stomach.

"It was the opinion of the amateurs," Boxiana declared, "that Mendoza displayed the greatest science… that hitherto determined spirit seemed now moderated by steady and decisive judgment and the skill and fortitude he displayed were truly entitled to respect and attention." In a third and last match the following autumn, the betting odds were all on Mendoza's side, and they grew steeper as the fight progressed; it was clear, as the Jew stopped the Gentleman's stomach punches and returned them with facer after facer, that they had suddenly become unequals. Whenever Mendoza landed a punch, Humphries went down, and eventually he stayed down.

Now the newspaper bards complained that the Jew was altogether too tough:

You may as well do anything most hard

As seek to soften (than which what's harder)

His Jewish heart.

Mendoza was just twenty-four. But as happens, fame swallowed him alive and spat him out a different man. He was taken advantage of, sent to tour in Scotland and Ireland, engaged by Astley, the circus showman. The champion Jew was a sorry accomplice in his own decline, abetted by drink, spendthrift flamboyance, his vanity flattered by the unscrupulous. His wife implored him to stop fighting, if not for her sake then for their brood, which had expanded to eleven. He never had enough patience with his academy, which closed down; the sites of his exhibitions of the manly art became ever less prominent and he resorted to a succession of occupations to keep the wolf from the door—process server, caterer, recruiting sergeant, sheriff's officer—the work getting ever more tawdry until he was arrested for debt and thrown into prison in Carlisle. His creditors would not leave him in peace. Shylock and Antonio had reversed roles, he noted in his memoir: "the Christian was the unfeeling persecutor—the Jew the unfortunate debtor."

To escape the debtor's prison Mendoza came out of retirement. It was 1806; the nation was fighting for its own life against Napoleon, and a greater darling of the people, Horatio Nelson, had come and gone while Mendoza was running a pub with the admiral's face on the hanging sign. There were new heroes of the ring, among them blacks like Bill Richmond and the great Tom Molineaux. But the crowds, told to go and see the boxing Jew, came in some number to Grinstead Green. Mendoza slugged it out against Harry Lee through fifty-three rounds of agonizing punches and throws, two old boys desperate for a measly purse, staggering around the stage. Lee eventually was the first to collapse. It was Daniel's thirty-third fight, but not quite his last. That came in 1820, when Mendoza was fifty-six, taking on Tom Owen, a Hampshire innkeeper a mere six years his junior, and coming off so badly that he never tried it again.

Mendoza lived for another sixteen years, and was forgotten long before he died at the age of seventy-two. Except, that is, in the East End, which was still producing Jewish boxers: the brothers Belasco, Israel and Aby, who refused ever to take on another Jew; Dutch Sam Elias, who at five foot five made Mendoza seem a giant in people's memory but was feared nonetheless as "the Man with the Iron Hand"; Ikey Bittoon, known as "Old Ikey" and definitely not to be confused with Ikey Pig, who never did make the crowds chuckle at his nickname. Some were good, the Belascos were perhaps great, but none, they said on the Mile End Road and in Stepney Green and Whitechapel, were like unto Daniel.

Mendoza died penniless, but the Hevra took care that he was buried in the Sephardi cemetery in Mile End Road. He is honored by a plaque on a freshly and beautifully renovated site plumb in the middle of Queen Mary College. One hundred and twenty years after he was interred, my father, Arthur, and I were sitting up the road at Bloom's salt beef restaurant when, in mid-kreplach, Arthur dropped his spoon and nodded his head at a gray-haired gent with smooshed-in shnozz sitting quietly on his own slicing his way through a plate of tongue. "Come on," said Arthur, "let's pay our respects." He was a great ringside man, my dad, and would drag me to Wembley Town Hall for the bouts amid the fug of cigar smoke and the rowdy hoo-ha and he would pal around with the great fight promoter Jack Solomon.

"Who is he?" I asked. "Kid Lewis?"



  • "Marc Tracy and Franklin Foer have compiled JEWISH JOCKS: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, essays on 'the most influential Jews in sports,' from athletes, coaches, and owners to broadcasters and statisticians. David Remnick, David Brooks, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jane Leavy, and Steven Pinker are among the heavyweight contributors. You'll laugh, you'll cry."—Publishers Weekly, Top 10 Sports Books Fall 2012
  • Editor's Choice: "Fifty well-written brief portraits."—The New York Times Book Review
  • "Jewish Jocks' ends up convincing you of its theme: The history of Jews in sports is, in important ways, the history of sports."—Will Leitch, Wall Street Journal
  • "A must for the bookshelf of any Jewish sports fan."— Kirkus Reviews
  • "Belies the cheap punch line [to] prove that the Jewish sporting tradition is as rich as it is varied. Jewish Jocks features notable writers in peak form."—Sports Illustrated
  • "A skillful collection... through its sheer comprehensiveness, JEWISH JOCKS also makes the argument that the Jewish athlete isn't an anomaly."—Los Angeles Times

On Sale
Oct 30, 2012
Page Count
304 pages