On Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, Joe Bednarsh, athletics director at Yeshiva University, was invited to be on a panel at Fordham University’s Global Symposium on Sports and Society: Anti-Semitism and Sports, sponsored by the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.
In addition to Bednarsh, the panel, “The Realities: Anti-Semitism on the Field,” included Grant Wahl (moderator and lead soccer reporter, Sports Illustrated), Jeff Bukantz (president, Maccabi USA; former captain of the U.S. fencing team; Olympic fencer and referee), Gedaliah Goodman (professional racehorse trainer) and Erit Yellen (president and founder of Orna Drive Productions, which focuses on creating sports stories for good).
The panel was one of several during a morning session centered on the realities of hate and its impact on society, with a focus on anti-Semitism in sports.
Bednarsh was both humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an important and major gathering. “I’m so appreciative to Dean Davidson for convening this symposium and for inviting me to participate. Yeshiva University should be at the forefront of all discussions about anti-Semitism and certainly about anti-Semitism in sports, since we are the only NCAA member institution who fields teams that adhere to Jewish principles and requirements. In fact, many of our player wear their kippot while they play, visibly identifying them as Jews and making them targets for bigots.”
He hopes that being on the panel “is the start of an association with the many organizations that deal with this important issue. It’s imperative that our students—both college and high school—and the broader community participate in the discussions so that we can have a good dialogue and learn from each other. Athletics in its purest form is apolitical and free from hatred and prejudice, and it’s my hope that this event helps move the needle in that direction.”