For some, the connection between Jews and athletics might seem far-fetched. But in fact, as is highlighted by the fourteen chapters in this collection, Jews have been participating in -- and thinking about -- sports for more than two thousand years. The articles in this volume scan a wide chronological range: from the Hellenistic period (first century BCE) to the most recent basketball season. The range of athletes covered is equally broad: from participants in Roman-style games to wrestlers, boxers, fencers, baseball players, and basketball stars. The authors of these essays, many of whom actively participate in athletics themselves, raise a number of intriguing questions, such as: What differing attitudes toward sports have Jews exhibited across periods and cultures? Is it possible to be a "good Jew" and a "great athlete"? In what sports have Jews excelled, and why? How have Jews overcome prejudices on the part of the general populace against a Jewish presence on the field or in the ring? In what ways has Jewish participation in sports aided, or failed to aid, the perception of Jews as "good Germans," "good Hungarians," "good Americans," and so forth? This volume, which features a number of illustrations (many of them quite rare), is not only accessible to the general reader, but also contains much information of interest to the scholar in Jewish studies, American studies, and sports history.
New York has long been both America’s leading cultural center and its sports capital, with far more championship teams, intracity World Series, and major prizefights than any other city. Pro football’s “Greatest Game Ever Played” took place in New York, along with what was arguably history’s most significant boxing match, the 1938 title bout between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. As the nation’s most crowded city, basketball proved to be an ideal sport, and for many years it was the site of the country’s most prestigious college basketball tournament. New York boasts storied stadiums, arenas, and gymnasiums and is the home of one of the world’s two leading marathons as well as the Belmont Stakes, the third event in horse racing’s Triple Crown. New York sportswriters also wield national influence and have done much to connect sports to larger social and cultural issues, and the vitality and distinctiveness of New York’s street games, its ethnic institutions, and its sports-centered restaurants and drinking establishments all contribute to the city’s uniqueness. New York Sports collects the work of fourteen leading sport historians, providing new insight into the social and cultural history of America’s major metropolis and of the United States. These writers address the topics of changing conceptions of manhood and violence, leisure and social class, urban night life and entertainment, women and athletics, ethnicity and assimilation, and more.