Sep 14, 2005 — Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports (Indiana University Press: 2005) uses sports as a metaphor to explore the basic religious dilemmas facing the Jewish community today.
Covering ground that no previous historical work has addressed, Jeffrey S. Gurock, PhD, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, examines how sports –– a foreign cultural phenomenon –– entered Jewish cultural and religious life. It explores the conflicts that have ensued among Jewish Americans who want to be both involved in both religious and sporting life.
Dr. Gurock, who has served as the assistant men’s basketball coach at Yeshiva University for the past 25 years and has run the New York City marathon 12 times, also offers a scholar-athlete’s view of the challenges of assimilation within the 21st Century Jewish community.
In Gurock’s view, American society is the most accepting as it has ever been of outsiders, and it is more possible than ever for the sports-minded to become fully part of “America’s Team,” losing all regard for Jewish ties. At the same time, a very tolerant America has made it easier than ever before for people to keep their Jewish traditions while pursuing careers in the sporting world.