Athletes who have made significant achievements throughout their careers were honored in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at the Jewish Athletes Museum at the Wingate Institute.
“The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is important to Jews in Israel and worldwide and constitutes for all of us a source of immense pride. We are inducting some of the best world record holders, Olympic gold medalists, and champions, who are first and foremost human beings," Judd Margolis, chairman of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame said during the event.
Among the athletes inducted into the Hall is former basketball player Miki Berkovich, the Olympic champions Linoy Ashram and Artem Dolgopyat, former tennis player Brad Gilbert, former basketball player Ernie Grunfeld, former women's basketball player Sue Bird, Olympic medalist Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, the former footballer Jeff Agoos, and many other excellent athletes, totaling this year's class at 35 new inductees.
Former Israeli professional basketball player Miki Berkovich said that “this is a very emotional day for me. In the past, I visited the Wingate Institute often when training with the various squads as a member of the Israeli National Team. The institute served as a springboard for me from starting as an amateur to becoming a professional basketball player."
"Receiving the exciting announcement of my induction into the Jewish Hall of Fame - is a supreme feeling. To be mentioned on the same level with larger-than-life athletes like Red Auerbach, Mark Spitz, and many others brings me joy and happiness that you are admired and appreciated not only here in Israel," Berkovich added.
“Thank you to the Hall of Fame for this amazing honor to join so many amazing athletes. I am grateful to receive this award, and I want to thank my family, coaches, the Wingate Institute, and the State of Israel for your support. To be in the Olympics, representing the country I love, was very special for me," Former individual rhythmic gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Linoy Ashram said.
"I wore the “Blue and White” with pride. And when I received the gold medal, I accepted it on behalf of an entire nation. Much of our success in sport is mental, and I have a message for all children, big and small - Your determination, not your talent, will determine your success," she added.
"I wore the “Blue and White” with pride. And when I received the gold medal, I accepted it on behalf of an entire nation. Much of our success in sport is mental, and I have a message for all children, big and small - Your determination, not your talent, will determine your success."Linoy Ashram
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame, as a recipient of a Life Achievements Award for his extensive activities, is Mr. Sylvan Adams, a Canadian Israeli business executive and philanthropist known as the "individual who appointed himself as an ambassador of the State of Israel in the widest sense of the word."
After receiving his Life Achievement Award, Sylvan Adams said: “Sports connects between people. I will do everything to make Israel known worldwide thanks to sports, with as many titles and medals as possible."
In memory of Munich
During the ceremony and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, the memories, and achievements of the 11 Israeli Olympians murdered at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich were honored and commemorated.
“I am here with my family, a family that my father will never be able to meet. All the families of those murdered at the Munich Olympics became one family. It took nearly 50 years for the world to recognize us. You are the legacy, Linoy, Miki, Artem, and Jeff; all of you are the Jewish and Israeli legacy. Thank you for this,” said Michal Shachar, the daughter of Kehat Shorr who was murdered in the Olympic Games.
Michal lit a memorial candle with her granddaughter in memory of those murdered while those in attendance stood for a moment of silence in their memory.