Great article about 1922 Super Bowl champ Alan Shlomo Veingrad in today's NY Times.
The article mentioned Jewish boxers Yuri Foreman and Dimitriy Salita, and Jewish basketball player Omri Casspi.
It also does a good job explaining Jews' fascination with Jewish athletes:
For Jews, abundant as fans but uncommon as top players, the visibility of a Shlomo Veingrad serves both reassuring and cathartic roles. Having a Jew to root for — whether Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax or the Israeli N.B.A. rookie Omri Casspi — “has a lot to do with our desire to define ourselves as Americans in the most American way, which is sports,” said Jeffrey S. Gurock, a history professor at Yeshiva University and the author of “Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports.”
At a deeper and more anxious level, American Jews continue to grapple with the stereotypical view of the Jew as egghead, nerd, weakling. That dismissive portrayal was a staple not only of anti-Semites, but also of early Zionists, who envisioned their “new man” with his plow and rifle as the antidote to the “golus Yid,” the exilic Jew unable even to defend himself.
“I don’t think those feelings are as conscious as in prior generations, but they still have some resonance,” Professor Gurock said in a telephone interview. "So there’s a residual pride of someone achieving in this very secular world of sports.”
It also mentions that Veingrad is a willing signer: "Mr. Veingrad obligingly signed with his name, his uniform number, and his message: “Jewish Pride!”
Veingrad's Web site offers a list of his upcoming speaking engagements, during which he usually sells and autographs his book.
Although Veingrad spoke recently at the JCC Book Fair in Columbus, I was unable to attend. I understand from those who did go, however, that he is a great speaker.
Photo courtesy: www.alanveingrad.com.