NY Knicks host Israeli high school team in charity match

By MARK REBACZ
March 29, 2010 08:47
2 minute read.
The Reali Gymnasium High School team.

Reali Gymnasium High School team 311. (photo credit: .)

Madison Square Garden, home of the NBA’s New York Knicks, saw a different type of basketball game last Sunday. Instead of professional NBA stars playing for money and fame, the arena was host to a fund-raiser match for cancer patients of Yad Tamar between the Reali Gymnasium High School team of Rishon Lezion, and the Magen David Yeshiva high school of Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn team had competed against other Jewish schools from the area for the opportunity to face the Israeli team.

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Following a Knicks vs Rockets game, the Rishon Lezion team took the floor, and led by coach Ziv Erez of Hapoel Yerushalyim, former coach of Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi, beat the Brooklyn team 42-28.

The event was attended by legendary Knicks Walt Frazier, John Starks, and Alan Houston, who each signed basketballs donated to Yad Tamar, the profits of which will go to supporting cancer patients and the medical staff treating them, in both the US and Israel. Based on the success of the event, Yad Tamar is already planning additional events in three US cities, with three other NBA teams.

Yad Tamar, founded in the US in memory of Tamar Lichtenstadt, who died of breast cancer, provides medications, vacation outings, and support groups for cancer patients and medical staff.

The 10 youngsters aged 16-18 who flew to New York to participate in the game were given the rare opportunity of watching the Knicks practice before their match against the Houston Rockets, as well as forming a “fan tunnel” – a line of fans who greet the players as they enter the arena at the start of the game.

For their win, the Rishon Lezion team was awarded the shinning prize of 10 colored diamonds, donated for the event by Briza Color Diamonds of Israel. Though the diamonds will be donated to Yad Tamar, the players also received New York Knicks jerseys of their own. The Israeli players enjoyed celebrity status in front of the hundreds of New York fans who came to watch their game, and even signed autographs for the fans.

Yuval Orly, CEO of Yad Tamar, said: “This is first time an Israeli team from Rishon Lezion met with the Jewish community of Brooklyn. The event was extremely exciting, and the relationship forged between the players and the community will remain in the future.”

Micky Wassertal, chairman of Yad Tamar, added: “Yad Tamar usually operates modestly, and this was the first time in a very long time, and after much hard work, that we are presenting our labors publicly. The donation made by the youth of Rishon and New York will continue to reverberate for a long time in the hearts of Israeli children and adults who suffer from cancer.”

Other highlights included Yad Tamar’s presentation of a silver dome depiction of Jerusalem to former Knick John Starks in recognition of his support of the event, and the extremely rare honor given to Jack Anteby, a cancer patient from New York recovering for the second time, who got to sit on the bench with the NBA players during their match against the Rockets.


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