The Jewish Sport Report: A new documentary explores surfing’s antisemitic history


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Check out our exciting event next month in Miami (and online), Jews on First: A Celebration at the World Baseball Classic. I’ll be sitting down with an awesome group of Jewish baseball experts — including a former Team Israel player and ESPN’s leading baseball reporter Jeff Passan — to talk Jews and baseball, Team Israel and more.

What are you waiting for? Grab your tickets now, and we’ll see you in Miami Beach, or on Zoom!

Overcoming surfing’s antisemitic history

Josh Greene directed “Waves Apart,” a documentary about the antisemitic history of surfing. (Courtesy of Greene)

When Josh Greene was deciding where to have his bar mitzvah party, it was a no-brainer: the local surfing museum. Greene had recently moved to Southern California, and immersed himself in surf culture.

But he later learned that his parents had asked the museum to remove surfboards prior to the party because they were engraved with swastikas. Surfing, Greene began to learn, had a dark, antisemitic history.

This week, the product of Greene’s deep dive, his new documentary “Waves Apart,” premieres at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Greene made the film while he was a film student at the University of Southern California.

He details the history of bigotry in the sport, interviews Jewish surfers — including former world champion Shaun Tomson — and aims to leave viewers with a sense of hope.

“By making a film like this, we can dispel ignorance and divisiveness, and instead promote inclusivity, community and equality for all surfers and all people,” Greene said.

Read more about Greene’s new doc right here.

Halftime report

FIGHTING WORDS. An on-field brawl at a high school championship soccer game in Miami may have turned antisemitic. The matchup was between a Jewish day school and a Catholic school, and parents at the game told local news outlets that the Catholic school students used antisemitic slurs, including “Hitler was right.” More here.

READY, SET, YIKES! For many, the Super Bowl is about the fun commercials. But this year, two commercials about Jesus stood out to Maureen Rubin for the wrong reasons. “As a Jewish mother and grandmother, I found them hurtful, confusing and potentially damaging to any football fan who is not a Christian,” Rubin writes in an essay for JTA’s partner site Kveller.

RIP. Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner died this week at 97 years old. Lerner, who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family, bought the team in 2006 and helped bring D.C. its first baseball championship in 95 years in 2019.

RECOMMENDED READING. Nobody knows what NBA star Kyrie Irving is thinking most of the time. This New York Magazine profile offers a fascinating look inside the life and mind of one of sports’ most polarizing stars — and how he got to the point of sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories online.

OFFSIDES. The Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is known for its large Jewish fanbase, with many supporters even calling themselves “Yid Army” — though the club has tried to nix the term. The current owner and chair of the Spurs are both Jewish, but an Iranian-American billionaire, Jahm Najafiis, is reportedly launching a $3.75 billion takeover bid of the club.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Tonight at 9 p.m. ET, Adam Fox and the New York Rangers will head north of the border to take on Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers. Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET, Jason Zucker, Mark Friedman (who is injured) and the Pittsburgh Penguins host Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils. Hughes, who missed some time with an injury, is expected to return to the lineup.

⛳️ IN GOLF… 

Max Homa and David Lipsky are both in their native Southern California this weekend for the Genesis Invitational tournament. Homa is currently 12th in the PGA world rankings.

Paul Rudd celebrates a Super Bowl victory

Since Jewish actor Paul Rudd is a massive Kansas City Chiefs fan, he and his 17-year-old son Jack celebrated their Super Bowl victory on the field last week. It’s a sweet video, but my biggest takeaway was that they sound exactly the same.