The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame/Yad Le'ish Hasport Hayehudi was formally inaugurated on July 7, 1981. Its predecessor, the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, was founded in the United States in May 1979. The original Hall of Fame included only American honorees. The International Hall of Fame honors athletes and sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the world.
The purpose of the IJSHOF is to honor Jewish men and women, worldwide, who have accomplished extraordinary achievements in sports and to honor those who have made significant contributions to society through sports.
Display Cases at the Wingate Institute in Israel.
In addition, its Lifetime Achievement Award annually honors those individuals who have contributed to Jewish life, Israel, society and the community at large, through sports. The Chairman's Award of Excellence is presented periodically in recognition of special accomplishments in the world of sports and physical education.
From our Chairman Jed Margolis 5/2/2023
As we celebrate Israel's 75th Anniversary on May 14, it is fitting and touching that Sylvan Adams, one of our Award of Excellence recipients, was selected by the Israeli government to light one of twelve Masuot at the main government Yom Haatzmaut independence celebrations in Jerusalem next week.
Our next Induction Ceremony is slated for July of 2025. As it will be the 80th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, we will be honoring the memory of those great athletes that we lost in the Holocaust and those who survived and went onto greatness. Note the article below from The Times of Israel.
The Jewish Olympians among Hitler's victims | The Times of Israel
And from JTA, a great source for "Jewish News" comes a recent article by Jacob Gurvis about Jewish Halls of Fame.
We are focused on the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
As a point of reference, here are the criteria for selection and the Class of 2023, that will be honored in July 2025. Since the '80s, we have inducted 450 people who are well-deserving. More information can be found at our website jewishsports.net.
2023 Class – International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
1. Rudi Ball, Germany-Ice Hockey
Rudi Victor Ball, a member of the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, was one of two Jewish athletes to represent Germany in the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. During his playing career, spanning 1928 to 1952, his teams won the German championship eight times. He played in 49 international games for Germany, including four world championships, scoring 19 goals. Three goals came in the 1932 Winter Olympics where Germany won a bronze medal. Ball was voted the best European Ice Hockey player in 1930 and was considered one of the most popular and dreaded European Ice Hockey players prior to the Second World War. Ball scored more than 500 goals during his career. When the German Olympic Committee threatened to have Ball removed from the team because he was Jewish, just prior to the '36 Games, his teammates stood behind him and threatened to boycott the Olympics.
2. Chris Berman, USA – Media
Chris Berman is a legend in the sports broadcasting world. He was one of the first ESPN SportsCenter anchors, beginning "way back, back, back" in 1979. Berman has been selected National Sportscaster of the Year six times. Berman and his various shows have won 10 Emmy Awards and 12 CableACEs. He received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won the Reds Bagnell Award from the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia, the Pat Summerall Award, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation&'s Distinguished American award. Berman was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was honored with the Newseum Institute's Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media – the first sportscaster ever honored. In 2010, Berman was honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. David Blatt, USA/ISR-Basketball
David Blatt was a co-captain and point guard on an Ivy League title team at Princeton University, where his basketball experience helped forge him into one of the top coaches in Europe. Blatt has been the Israeli Super League Coach of the Year four times (1996, 2002, 2011, and 2014), the Russian Super League Coach of the Year (2005), and the EuroLeague Coach of the Year (2014). His teams won a gold medal in the EuroBasket for Spain in 2007 and bronze for Lithuania in 2011, a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics for Russia, the EuroLeague championship in 2014, EuroCup championship in 2018. Blatt took over as the Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach, and led the team to the 2015 NBA Finals in his first season amassing a winning percentage of .675 over two years. Blatt represented the USA at the Maccabiah Games, helping lead his team to a gold medal in 1981.
4. Deena Drossin Kastor, USA-Track & Field
Deena Drossin Kastor won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics marathon. She is a two-time World Cross Country silver medalist, a five-time U.S. champion in the 10,000 and 15,000, seven-time U.S. cross country champion, eight-time All-American and a U.S. Olympic Trials marathon winner. Kastor has held the American record for the marathon, half-marathon, 12 kilometers, and 8 kilometers. She won the Jesse Owens Award as the USA Track & Field's most outstanding woman and the organization's Visa Humanitarian Award in 2003. She was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
5. Ilona Schacherer Elek, Hungary-Fencing
One of the greatest female Fencers of all-time, Ilona Elek won two Olympic gold medals, an incredible 12 years apart. The first was at the 1936 Berlin Olympics when she was 29, defeating the gold medalists from the previous two Olympics to prevail. She was 41 when she won the second, then took silver in 1952 at 45. She also won ten gold medals, five silver and two bronze medals in numerous World Championships from 1934 to 1956. Defending her title after 12 years.
6. John Frank, USA-Football
John Frank played on two Super Bowl champions during his five-year career with San Francisco, retiring to focus on medical school, becoming a board-certified Otolaryngologist. He set a school record for receptions by a tight end and was All-Big Ten as a junior and senior. He is tied for 15th on the all-time Ohio State receiving list and was voted the team MVP as a senior. Frank was also a two-time Academic All-American and was a Rhodes Scholar nominee as a senior. He co-founded the Israeli Bobsled Team, and has been inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame, the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
7. Merrill Moses, USA-Water Polo
Merrill Moses, a three-time Olympian and former All-American and national champion Water Polo player for Pepperdine University. Moses was a goalkeeper who helped lead Pepperdine to the 1997 NCAA championship and the United States to a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. He gave up Water Polo in 2004, but was recalled two years later to rejoin the U.S. squad. He became the starting goalkeeper for the United States for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics. The 2008 team was ranked ninth in the world, but made it to the gold-medal game. Moses was also on U.S. teams that won gold medals at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games and he was part of eight top-five finishes in the FINA World League Super Finals, including a second place in 2008 and a third place in 2003. He was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2021.
8. Moran Samuel, ISR-Rowing
A promising basketball talent, Moran Samuel turned to Rowing after suffering a spinal stroke, leaving her lower body paralyzed. She played for Israel's national team at the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships in 2013 and was selected one of the best five players in Europe. She turned to Para-rowing so she could represent Israel at the Paralympic Games. In 2012 she won a single scull competition at the Adaptive Rowing Regatta in Italy. The organizers did not have a recording of Hatikvah so Samuel sang it. In 2015, she won the gold medal at a World Cup event in Lake Varese defeating the reigning world champion and later that year won the World Rowing Championship in the women&'s arms-shoulders (AS) single sculls. At the 2015 World Rowing Championships, she won the gold medal in the women's AS single sculls. Also, she earned the bronze medal in June 2016 at the World Rowing Cup.& Samuel won the silver medal in the arms-only single sculls at the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo '11.
9. Mordechai Spiegler, ISR-Soccer
Considered the best Israeli soccer player in history, midfielder Mordechai Spiegler's major achievement was helping Israel qualify for the 1970 World Cup. He scored the nation's only World Cup goal in a 1-1 draw with Sweden in 1970. He still holds the national team scoring record of 32 goals in 83 appearances. He also captained Israel's Olympic team when it reached the quarterfinals in 1968. Spiegler helped Israel win the 1964 AFC Asian Cup. His professional debut came in 1961 with Maccabi Netanya, where he made 385 appearances. Spiegler played abroad for Paris Saint-Germain from 1972 to 1974, and for the New York Cosmos alongside soccer legend Pele from 1973 to 1977. Upon his return to Israel, Spiegler played for Beitar Tel Aviv for one season, then began coaching Maccabi Netanya with outstanding results.
10. Dwight Stones, USA-Track & Field
Stones dominated the High Jump, setting 10 world records, winning two Olympic bronze medals and 19 national championships in a 16-year career. He set 13 American records and made an unprecedented three Olympic teams. Stones was twice named World Indoor Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News, and was inducted into the U.S. Track Hall of Fame, the California Sports Hall of Fame and the Orange County Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
11. Ariel "Arik" Ze'evi, ISR Judo
Ze'evi was a force in Judo, winning an Olympic bronze medal, four European heavyweight championships and a silver medal in the heavyweight competition of the World Judo Championships. Ze'evi was the 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2012 European champion and the 2005 silver medalist. Ze'evi won the silver medal in the open category in the 2001 World Championships. He also won a bronze medal in Judo at the 1993 Maccabiah Games, then three golds in '97. '01, and '05. Ze'evi served as chairman of the Maccabiah Games in 2022.
We also have two additional awards to give out:
2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and 2023 Award of Excellence
Stuart Weitzman and Ephraim Moxson & Shel Wallman – Jewish Sports Review
Stuart is a famous shoe designer, internationally recognized. He also has participated in multiple Maccabiot, and was USA flag bearer in 2022. His significant endowment gift to Maccabi USA as a match, will pave the way to significant participation of Team USA well into the future. He is also proud of being the MWU Honorary Chairman of the next Maccabiah.
Ephraim and Shel were the co-founders and editors of the Jewish Sports Review, a quarterly publication that sought out and reported on Jewish athletes from many countries in many sports. They recently retired after 25 significant and impactful years of service.
Criteria for Election
In addition to a potential candidate having at least one Jewish parent AND considers him/herself Jewish, the candidate must have accomplished at least one of the following:
- An Olympic gold medal
- A World Championship gold medal
- Multiple-Olympic or World Championship medals
- A World Record
- Amateur or professional World Championship
- Been elected to the hall of fame of the athlete's/contributor's sport
- Recorded a unique achievement(s)
- Was a sports pioneer, innovator or key participant in commemorative circumstances
Executive Committee News
The IJSHOF has formed an Executive Committee, and we are about to embark on a Strategic Planning process to shape our future. Serving on the EC are: Debbie Adams, Stephen Berliner, Bill Izso, Chuck Shechtman, Michael Siegman, and Lenny Silberman.
Finally, a couple of updates:
Recent IJSHOF Lifetime Achievement award winner, Sylvan Adams organized the Middle East Ironman Championship in Israel that attracted 2500 participants that included 900 from abroad. He also competed and had the third fastest time at his distance. He also will be honored by the State of Israel by lighting one of their candles on May 14th.
The hard work of Artem Dolgopyat continues to pay off as he won multiple medals at the 2022 Gymnastics World Cup in Floor Exercise and Vault.
Our next election will be in August and people can submit names for nominations via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame can now accept credit cards for donations or for purchases of dedication plaques through Citizens Bank and Swipe Simple.
Please visit to make a donation.
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