THE CANDIDATES for The Jerusalem Post Israeli Sports Personality of the Year include (clockwise from top left in alphabetical order) rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram, Hapoel Beersheba owner Alona Barkat, Muay Thai fighter Nili Block, judoka Tal Flicker and tennis player Dudi Sela..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON/OLYMPIC COMMITTEE OF ISRAEL/AYELET/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
A– Ashram. Linoy Ashram, the blue-and-white rhythmic gymnast is on a roll and has won over 25 medals this past year in world-class competitions, including three medals just last week at the World Championships.
B – Basketball. There’s plenty of basketball being played this coming week in Israel as the Winner Cup tournament begins on Wednesday September 26th in Rishon Lezion with the host’s playing Bnei Herzliya.
C – Cohen. Jake Cohen originally from Pennsylvania made aliyah in 2013 after starring at Davidson University. Cohen plies his trade with Maccabi Tel Aviv who will be playing on Monday, October 1 at 8 p.m. in Rishon Lezion.
D – Double-header. There’s a pair of double-headers – two games for the price of one – slated for the Winner Cup. Keep reading for the details of when and where below.
E – Euroleague. Maccabi Tel Aviv is Israel’s only representative in the Euroleague and they’re warming up with a number of preseason tournaments against some of Europe’s finest competition including Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce, Milano, CSKA Moscow and more.
F – Football (soccer). While the NFL season is also in full swing, there’s plenty of Israel Premier League football (soccer) action across the country. On Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Maccabi Haifa and Netanya all host matches while on Monday Hadera, Beersheba and Jerusalem will welcome thousands to their games.
G – Greens. Maccabi Haifa hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa. If you’re visiting the Carmel mountain region you certainly won’t want to miss out on Israel’s premier stadium.
H – Hapoel. Hapoel Jerusalem will be holding a free event at the YMCA on Friday, September 28 at 10:30 a.m. where visitors and local Anglos will have the chance to practice with the players, assistant coach Ryan Pannone and Tamir Goodman.
I – Israel. Make sure to pick up an Israel national team jersey or scarf and wear it proudly around the country. Put on that blue-and-white apparel and show some pride for the greatest country in the world.
J – Jerusalem. Beitar Jerusalem plays Bnei Sakhnin on Monday at 9 p.m. at Teddy Stadium in one of the league’s most heated rivalries. This will be the first time that the visiting fans will be allowed back into the opposing stadium after a two-year absence.
K – Katamon. Hapoel Katamon Football Club is off to a hot start in the Leumit League, Israel’s second division. It hosts Kfar Saba on Friday at 4 p.m. at Teddy Stadium, a fun activity for the whole family.
L – Leumit. The Leumit League will also have games throughout the land from Nazareth Elite to Ashkelon both this Friday and next. Head out to one of the smaller facilities and see some of the best up-and-coming soccer players that Israel has to offer.
M – Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi plays Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday in the Toto Cup final at the Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva at 8:45 p.m. This is the first domestic title that will be up for grabs and two of Israel’s greatest soccer teams will battle it out for the right to hoist the trophy.
N – National team. If you’ll be around in October, the Israel national soccer team will be hosting Scotland and Albania on October 11 and 14 in Haifa and Beersheba, respectively. Head out to cheer on the blue-and-white as it tries to qualify for the Euro 2020.
O – Olim. There are many olim who play basketball in the Holy Land. Whether it’s Spencer Weisz at Ashdod, Travis Warech with Beersheba or Sam Singer at Bnei Herzliya there are plenty of American-born Jews who play pro ball in Israel.
P – Play. Not only can you watch a professional sports game in Israel over Sukkot, but you can play as well. There will be many pickup basketball and soccer games throughout Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, so just head to a park near you and meet up with others to have a great time.
Q – Qatar 2022. Israel will look to qualify for the Qatar World Cup for the first time since 1970. Will the blue-and-white make it back to the grandest stage under new coach Andi Herzog?
R – Rishon Lezion. The Winner Cup Basketball semifinal doubleheader is on tap for Tuesday, October 2 at Rishon Lezion beginning at 5 p.m.
S – Shabbat. Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Club will be playing after Shabbat on September 29 in Rishon Lezion at the Winner Cup Tournament, in an 8:30 p.m. tipoff against Hapoel Eilat. You certainly won’t want to miss this game!
T – Team. There are plenty of team sports in Israel. Lacrosse, handball, volleyball, baseball, cricket, American football and many more give Sabras, olim and visitors the opportunity to play and watch their sport of choice.
U- United States. There are over 50 US-born basketball players who play in Israel. Many college stars head over to the Holy Land to begin their professional careers or continue them. From Da’sean Butler to Michael Roll find out who else plays here via the www.basket.co.il league website.
V – Victory. Who will you cheer to victory at an Israeli sporting event? Will it be Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, Beersheba or Haifa? Choose your favorite city or team and wear its colors with pride.
W – Winner Cup. The Rishon Lezion-based basketball tournament will host a doubleheader on Thursday, starting at 6 p.m with the nightcap slated for 9 p.m. Ashdod and Holon will be playing that night against still to be determined opponents.
X – X marks the spot. Which great sporting event will you attend in Israel this coming week? Let your friends know where you are going and encourage others on your favorite social media platforms.
Y – Yellow. Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club also known as the yellow-and-blue will be holding a free community day during Hol Hamoed at their training facility in Tel Aviv. Make sure to stay tuned via their fully bilingual English and Hebrew website to find out all of the details as to when you can meet the stars.
Z – Zionism. There’s nothing better than expressing your love for Israel through blue-and-white sports. Now’s your chance!
Joshua Halickman, the Sports Rabbi, covers Israeli sports and organizes Israel Sports Adventures for tourists and residents. Follow the Sports Rabbi on Twitter @thesportsrabbi or visit www.sportsrabbi.com. Contact the Sports Rabbi via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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