Posts Tagged ‘football’

Israeli Football’s New Import is a 6’2″ Black Jew

November 8, 2013

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Avi Rosenblum playing football for Albany High School. (photo credit: Ned Purdom/ Courtesy of Rom Rosenblum)

Avi Rosenblum playing football for Albany High School. (photo credit: Ned Purdom/ Courtesy of Rom Rosenblum)

Avraham Dov Rosenblum gets stared at a lot on the streets of Israel. That’s because he’s not an elderly Ashkenazi man, as his name might suggest, but rather a 6’2”, 200 pound, 20-year-old, dark-skinned African American football player for the Ramat Hasharon Hammers. Rosenblum (known as Avi), who came from Albany, California to join the semi-pro Israel Football League, doesn’t let the inquisitive looks faze him.

“People stare at me all the time, but I just stare back at them. I think it’s amusing,” he says. The adopted only son of a white Jewish couple, he’s had a lifetime to get used to people’s prejudices and misconceptions.

“He’s had many experiences walking in to Jewish teen dances and being told, ‘Excuse me, but this event is for Jewish kids,’” recalls his mother, Debby Graudenz, the daughter of a Holocaust-survivor rabbi. “We’ve watched him deal with these kind of situations.”

She’s proud of how despite challenges like this, her son has successfully integrated the various aspects of his identity. She attributes much of the relative ease with which Avi has done so to the acceptance and support their family has received at Netivot Shalom, a Conservative congregation in Berkeley, where they have attended Shabbat services every week since Avi was five months old.

“I’m black, but I’m really Jewish,” Avi puts it simply. Graudenz, a child, adolescent and family psychotherapist, and her husband Rom Rosenblum, an applications engineer, adopted their son in the first public trans-racial adoption in the state of Texas.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Italian Soccer Star Taunted By Racist Fans

June 12, 2012

This post first appeared on The Shmooze blog at the Forward.

As many had feared, racism has reared its ugly head at Euro 2012. Italian football star Mario Balotelli was subjected to non-stop verbal abuse during the Italy-Spain match earlier this week at the Arena Gdansk in Poland.

The Mirror reported that 300 Spanish fans made monkey chants at Balotelli, and that the stewards (ushers) thought this was “funny.” A sports photographer who was on the scene said, “I was sat behind the goal with all the Spanish fans behind me and they were involved in monkey chanting and laughter and mockery whenever Balotelli was on the ball.”

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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

English Soccer Team To Visit Auschwitz

May 30, 2012

This post first appeared on The Shmooze blog at the Forward.

In an educational effort to combat the troublesome phenomenon of anti-Semitism and racism in soccer, England’s national football team will visit Auschwitz and other Holocaust-related sites while in Poland next week for the Euro 2012 tournament.

According to the Algemeiner, the team will visit Auschwitz some time between its arrival in Poland on June 6 and its first game (against France) on June 9. The players are expected to light candles along the train tracks leading to the camp, and to sign the guest book there.

Click here to read more.

© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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