Spiritual Community Life- Sports and Recreation

Agudas Achim basketball team, 1961


It was shortly after the turn of the century that young Jewish athletes began to exert an impressive impact on American sports. These were the children of immigrant parents who had never witnessed any games or sports in their native Poland or Russia, or even in this country, because they were too busy earning a living. These youngsters immediately took to competitive athletics; many excelled in high school sports and went on to play on college varsity teams.

While organized sports programs for the Jewish community were more likely to find sponsorship through other cultural or educational institutions, such as through the Jewish Community Center (JCC) or the local public schools, some synagogues did provide the opportunity for adult members and youths to participate competitively in recreational sports leagues.

Beth Sholom basketball team, c. 1960’s