This week’s Jewish Report SPORTS News
JACK MILNER writes that a new SA Jewish sport magazine is coming out soon and the International Tennis Federation took flack for fining the Israeli Federation for not playing a Davis Cup match on Yom Kippur
Israel snubs results in Tunisia Davis Cup ban
Recently some people were berating the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for fining the Israeli Federation for not playing a Davis Cup match on Yom Kippur.
I have no problem with the fine as it cost the home team extra in expenses which needed to be reimbursed. However, the ITF once again showed its intolerance of political interference when they suspended Tunisia from next year’s Davis Cup tournament.
PICTURED RIGHT: Malek Jaziri was ordered to withdraw from his match against Amir Weintraub in Tashkent last month.
The event is one of the most important on the men’s calendar and the ban was enforced after the ITF learned that a Tunisian player was ordered not to compete against an Israeli opponent last month.
Malek Jaziri, his country’s highest-ranked player at 215 in the world, withdrew from a match against Israel’s Amir Weintraub at the 2013 Tashkent Challenger in October, citing a knee injury.
But Jaziri’s brother, Amir, who also happens to be his coach, told AFP that Jaziri had pulled out under orders from the Tunisian Tennis Federation not to play an Israeli. An e-mail ordering Jaziri to pull out of the match was published by Tunisia’s state news agency. Tunisian sports ministry spokesman Sadok Touati confirmed that the federation sent the e-mail after consulting the ministry.
Tunisians unanimously suspended
In light of the revelation, the ITF board voted unanimously to suspend the Tunisian Tennis Federation for one year from the Davis Cup.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, said that there was no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society. “The ITF board decided to send a strong message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of action will not be tolerated by any of our members,” he said.
It will be interesting to see if they take the same action against the Tunisian Federation Cup team as one of their women players pulled out of a match which she had won, would have seen her play against Israel’s Shahar Peer. It was later reported in Tunisia that she did not want to play Peer had she won.
Magazine going to the Jewish soul
Over the years sports magazines have not had too much success in South Africa. Many have tried and most have failed. In another piece of local news, about to hit the streets is a new publication called Soul Sport, this one putting the spotlightpurely on Jewish sport, particularly focusing on South Africa.
The magazine is the brainchild of Reverend Ilan Herrmann of the Lions Shul, who is the managing director of Soul Workout, an organisation that uses somewhat unconventional ways of bringing Jews closer to their religion, one of them being sport.
The cover of the first edition of Soul Sport which will be launched this month.
Herrmann is not new to the world of sport. His father was one of South Africa’s soccer legends – Brazil-born Jorge Santoro – who passed away in February 2011.Herrmann has also played the game and was a member of the Maccabi SA soccer team years ago, so he knows quite a bit about sport.
The first edition of Soul Sport will have a main feature on another South African soccer star, Dean Furman, who is presently prying his trade for Bafana Bafana.. There are also articles about South Africa’s “rugby minyan” – the 10 Springboks, a background of South African Jewish sportsmen and women, as well as ways to keep fit.
For those who want to know more about Soul Sport, there will be a TV documentary on SABC 2 on the Simcah programme on Sunday, November 17 at 11:45.
In addition, Herrmann will be doing a small launch of the magazine with a talk and some handouts, as well as a visual presentation at the Lions Shul in Doornfontein on Wednesday, November 20. Mincha and Ma’ariv will take place at 17:45 followed by presentation and refreshments.
* For further information one can get hold of Rav Herrmann at Soul Workout on (011) 440-5995 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Shabbat Around The World beams out from Jozi
More than 75 devices around the globe logged in to Beit Luria’s World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Shabbat Around the World programme on Friday, 15 January.
Whether it was breakfast time in California, tea time in Europe, or time to break challah in Johannesburg, participants logged in to take part in Beit Luria’s Kabbalat Shabbat service.
Among those participating were Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the president of the WUPJ; chairperson Carole Sterling; and Rabbi Nathan Alfred, the head of international relations. Singers Tulla Eckhart and Brian Joffe performed songs from a global array of artists, along with Toto’s Africa to add a little local flair to the service. After kiddish was said and bread was broken, Rabbi Bergman thanked Beit Luria for hosting the WUPJ. The shul looks forward to more collaborations with its global friends in the future.
UJW Sewing School graduates model creations
The outfits modelled by graduates of the Union of Jewish Women’s (UJW’s) Sewing School were all the more spectacular for the fact that some of their creators had never seen a sewing machine prior to the four-month course.
They were modelled at the school’s graduation ceremony at Oxford Shul on 15 December to much excitement and applause.
UJW executive member and Sewing School Manager Ariane Heneck expressed her gratitude to Chido Tsodzo, the school’s superb teacher, and the event ended with a much appreciated lunch for graduates and their invited guests.
The self-empowerment Sewing School for unemployed men and women was started by the UJW 10 years ago. It now has a small production team of ex-students, and some of its graduates have been employed in factories, while others are selling their own creations.
Israel Rugby 7s to camp with the Blitzbokke
The thrill-a-minute Rugby 7s have captured the hearts of fans around the world. The Blitzbokke, South Africa’s national Rugby 7s team, ranks second in the world, and is among the most exciting, formidable, and feared of 7s teams.
Exactly 9 191 km away are the Israelis, an emerging rugby nation that has talent, determination, and a world-class coach in South African Kevin Musikanth. Now, these two squads will meet. The Israeli 7s side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch to train with the Blitzbokke.
The Blitzbokke will have the opportunity to prepare for the coming 7s rugby season by measuring their skills of play against the Israelis. And the Israelis, well, they will be rubbing shoulders with, and learning from the best in the world and honing their skills for their coming European Rugby season.
“It’s an opportunity for our boys to learn from the world’s best,” says Musikanth. The SAS Rugby Academy is run by the legendary Frankie Horn, a technical expert whose coaching guidelines and methods are second to none in World Rugby 7s.
Musikanth took over as Rugby 15s head coach in Israel in 2018, and in October 2019, he became director of rugby for the Israeli Rugby Union and head coach for the national programmes of both the 15s and the 7s.
Horn visited Israel last December at the behest of Rugby Israel and its supporting Olympic body and since then, the partnership has continued to grow. The upcoming training camp will begin in Israel, where Horn, together with Phil Snyman, the former Blitzbok captain and multiple world champion winner, will spend a week with the players and coaching staff at Wingate, Netanya, the home base of Rugby Israel. They will then all travel to Stellenbosch for a week’s camp with the Blitzbokke.
“We’ve already seen the difference through our partnership with Frankie. Two of our players were spotted by him on his previous trip to Israel, and have been training at SAS on the off-season,” says Musikanth. The two players are Omer Levinson (scrum half) and Yotam Shulman (lock).
Horn, technical advisor to Rugby Israel’s 7s, says “It is a great opportunity for both teams to derive positive benefit from the camp.”
Israel Rugby has been making considerable professional strides since Musikanth took over the reins. Israel 15s played their 100th test match against Cyprus and celebrated with a 34-22 victory.
“We’re in the top 25 in Europe in 15s and in the top 16 in 7s, the toughest, most competitive continent in world rugby,” says Musikanth, “and I can realistically see us setting our sights on the Top 15 and Top 12 respectively in the future.”
Currently, there are three eligible South Africans who are on the Israeli national squad: Jayson Ferera as flanker (Pirates Rugby Club), Daniel Stein as fly half (studying in Israel), and Jared Sichel as prop (Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Cape Town). Eligibility to play for a national team in rugby is stricter than in other sports. One does not qualify just because one has a passport. One has to have had a parent or grandparent that was born in that country or one has to have lived in the country for at least three years.
“With so much Jewish rugby talent around the world, we would be able to put a world-class Israeli national team together if not for the measures that restrict eligibility to national call ups,” says Musikanth.
The Israel Rugby development project was accelerated thanks to Musikanth initiating Bridges through Rugby. This project is the collective effort of a few South African Jewish businessmen who appreciate the long-term vision of Israel becoming a stronger rugby nation. They have come on board to assist with this most opportune tour. National financial support is fixed and, as such, is limited. While the strong players and national coaches will be attending the training camp in Stellenbosch, there will be some that will, unfortunately, have to stay behind.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and coaches. To get to see the best upfront and feed off their knowledge is going to be incredible,” says Musikanth. “Everyone is eager to go, of course, but there is a cap to the support we have in place. We would like to take a development u20 squad as well as coaching staff who would carry the benefits of this into the future. A rugby visit to Stellenbosch can change rugby lives in many respects. Stellenbosch is rugby utopia!”
Rugby aside, with the Israelis and South Africans camping together, the question of what will be for dinner after a gruelling day’s training may be a matter of contention. A tussle for whether to serve boerewors or shwarma may result in a scrum in the SAS dining hall to determine the outcome.
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