jewish sports
Jewish Jocks

As the year 2013 is half over, what have Jewish sports stars been up to in Israel, the USA, and the World?

Baseball--As of the end of the first week of July, Scott Feldman (Baltimore Orioles) had a 7-7 won-lost record for the season with a 3.87 Earned-Run-Average. He started all 17 games he appeared in, and struck out 75 batters while walking just 26 in 102 innings pitched. Lefty Craig Breslow (Boston Red Sox) pitched 28 innings in relief in 29 games, striking out 16 and walking 7. He has a 3.21 ERA. Jason Marquis is leading all the Jewish pitchers in the Major Leagues with a 9-4 won-lost record for the San Diego Padres.

Basketball--Omri Casspi, signed a one year deal with the Houston Rockets worth $2 million, with an option for a second season. The Israeli forward, entering his 5th season in the NBA, averaged 4 points per game in 43 games in 2012-13 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and hopes to get back to the level he was at when he scored in double digits in his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings. Gal Mekel signed a 3 year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, making him the second Israeli hoops star to play in the NBA. Mekel, a 6'3" (1.91 Meters) guard, previously played college ball for Wichita State for two years. He played for Maccabi Haifa this past season and helped them to win a league championship over perennial powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. Mekel will earn the NBA minimum $490,000 this season, and his 3 year deal is worth $2.3 million. Na'ama Shafir, the first Israeli Orthodox woman to earn a college basketball scholarship, has graduated from the University of Toledo (OH), but not without leaving her mark at that Division I school. In 2012-13, she led the Rockets with a 12.8 points per game scoring average and 4.6 assists per game. In addition, Shafir contributed 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. The 5'7" guard received Academic All-MAC honors and was runner-up for league Player of the Year. She recently agreed to play for Elizur Ramle of Israel's top women's pro league for the upcoming season.

Bowling--Liat Vizenfeld, the first Israeli woman to earn a college ten pin bowling scholarship had an excellent sophomore season with the Fairleigh Dickinson (NJ) Knights in 2012-13. She averaged 207.89 per game, good for second best on the team, and the Knights had a respectable won-lost record of 78-41 on the lanes for the season.

Golf--LPGA star Morgan Pressel has made the cut in 8 out of 13 events she has competed in this year. She has made the top-10 twice in 2013 and has a scoring average of 72.81. Her earnings through the first week of July were $248,731. Bruce Fleisher has made the cut in 4 out of 4 events on the Champions Tour, and has earnings of $16,071 and a scoring average of 73.92 this year. In addition, he tied for 6th place in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, with rounds of 67 and 66 and earned $10,500 for the event.

Soccer--In 2013, goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, from Kansas City, has recorded 5 wins, 8 losses and 5 draws in 18 games with the Columbus (OH) Crew of the MLS. In 2012 he had a 12-11-7 record with the Crew, and a phenomenal 1.26 goals-against-average in 33 games. Gruenebaum, who earns $92,220, recorded 8 shutouts in 2012 and has 4 shutouts thus far in 2013.

Tennis--Shahar Peer, currently ranked 162nd in the World on the WTA circuit, has a singles won-lost record of 17-18 and a doubles record of 6-6 in 2013. She has pocketed earnings of $165,842 in 17 events this year.

Maccabiah Games: Former NBA player Danny Schayes will be coaching basketball for Team USA this Summer in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. Garrett Weber-Gale, who won a gold medal for swimming in the 4 X 100 relay in 2008 in Beijing, will be competing for Team USA. Aly Raisman, who won three medals, including two golds and a bronze, in gymnastics in the 2012 London Olympics. will be vying to bring home some hardware this Summer too.

May all the Jewish Jocks continue to have a "hot" season this Summer and make us all proud of their accomplishments.

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