Of Hoops and Hebrews

HOW JEWS CHANGED BASKETBALL by Mikhail Horowitz   Discussed in This Essay: The Chosen Game: A Jewish Basketball History, by Charley Rosen. University of Nebraska Press, 2017, 208 pages.  Seven-foot Jews in the NBA, slam-dunking! My alarm clock rings.     —Anonymous haiku on the Internet   FOR THE MOST PART the Jewish hoopers chronicled by Charley Rosen […]

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Tales of the Hasidic Jazz Masters

Text and Visuals by Mikhail Horowitz from the Winter 2017-18 issue of Jewish Currents, our art calendar   I WHEN LESTER YOUNG had finally become Lester Altacocker, he rued having worn a porkpie hat for so many years. After giving it away to a Polish trombonist, he asked his rebbe, “What should I wear in its place, […]

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King Bob Approximately

by Mikhail Horowitz IN THE DAYS following the bestowal of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the 147th phase of Bob Dylan’s career really began to take off. Two weeks after the Swedish proclamation, Michelin Guide announced that it was awarding the singer-songwriter three stars. True, by tradition, the stars are awarded to restaurants, as […]

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Hello, Deli!

CHRONICLING THE NEW YORK JEWISH DELICATESSEN by Mikhail Horowitz from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli, by Ted Merwin. New York University Press, 2015, 245 pages. IN THE MID-1980s, I worked for a daily paper in the Hudson Valley with an […]

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Thar’s Goldberg in Them Thar Hills!

A History of America’s Most Influential Mountains by Mikhail Horowitz From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: The Catskills: Its History and How It Changed America, by Stephen M. Silverman and Raphael D. Silver. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015, 448 pages. BACK IN THE HALCYON DAYS of my arrested adolescence, I […]

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Saved at Home: Case Studies of Play on the Praying Fields

by Mikhail Horowitz Discussed in  this essay: Religion and Sports by Rebecca T. Alpert. 2015, Columbia University Press, 209 pages.   SOME YEARS AGO, North Atlantic Books published a very unorthodox anthology, The Dreamlife of Johnny Baseball, which featured a piece by David Rosenbloom titled “Elijah Named Manager of the Saints.” A tongue-in-cheek take on […]

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The Wide World of Schwartz

A Pantheon of Jewish Boxers, Ballplayers, and even Bullfighters by Mikhail Horowitz Reviewed in this essay: Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy. TWELVE Books, 2012, 285 pages. True, the Book of Kings intimates that Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, was either a passionate golfer or NASCAR racer […]

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Chosen Clowns

by Mikhail Horowitz From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball, by Rebecca T. Alpert. 2011, Oxford University Press, 236 pages. IT’S PROBABLY SAFE to assume that not one baseball fan in fifty thousand has ever heard of the Belleville Grays. No less […]

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