Ram Erlich hug 88.
(photo credit: )
The Israeli doubles team of Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich want to do more than play well at the US Open. They want to spread a message.
Ram and Erlich have formed the Jewish Sports Foundation. Their mission: To encourage young Jewish people to pursue athletics.
"We came up with the idea because to us it is very important," said Ram, who won the 2006 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Vera Zvonareva. "Our big vision is to see many more Jewish athletes. We travel all over the world and rarely ever see Jewish athletes."
The foundation will work out of the United States, but Ram and Erlich hope that the organization will grow to have global reach.
They said they chose their base for two reasons - the US has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, and it was the support of the American Jewish community that helped them become tennis players.
"We wanted to give back to the American community," Ram said. "It was all the donations from American Jews to Israeli tennis centers that helped Jonathan and me play tennis. Me in Jerusalem and him in Haifa. If the American Jewish community didn't help, we wouldn't be here."
Erlich and Ram have won 10 titles together. Seeded eighth in the Open, they beat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and Werner Eschauer of Austria, 6-3, 6-2 Saturday.
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