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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘New York Knicks’

Israel May be Part of NBA in Several Years

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Maccabi Tel Aviv reportedly is heading back to the United States this fall for its first exhibition games against NBA teams in five years – but greater developments appear to be in the works for the iconic franchise and Israeli basketball.

For one, how about NBA squads making the trans-Atlantic flight to play regular-season games in Israel, and an Israeli club flying the other way to play in North America?

First, the exhibitions, which have yet to be confirmed: Tel Aviv will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 5 and the Brooklyn Nets two nights later, the Israeli team’s co-chief executive officer Eli Drikes told JTA.

The Israelis last made a U.S. jaunt in 2009 to face the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers. They were North America regulars in the mid- to late 2000s, playing a total of nine games over four preseasons in five years. It  was seen as the high-water mark in North America for the Israeli Basketball Super League’s dynastic club.

But that could change if you ask Tal Brody, a former star player for Tel Aviv.

He accompanied team executives in meetings in New York last week with Nets management and recently retired NBA Commissioner David Stern, and said his former squad could be part of a new NBA European Division that Brody predicted would be established within a decade.

Revolutionary as it seems, the NBA has a record of mining global branding opportunities. It has 14 offices overseas, and with the increased number of foreign-born players populating its rosters – 92 at the start of this season, 26 percent of the NBA’s total – the league’s tie-ins abroad would make even more sense.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters during All-Star weekend in February that he is “committed to studying” international expansion, but the issue and domestic expansion are “not on the top of my list right now.”

With 50 Israeli championships and five Euroleague titles, Tel Aviv (16-7 heading into Thursday’s regular-season finale) is the revered team in Israel. But others in Israel are catching up, due in part to American ownership and coaching.

Maccabi Haifa, owned by Miami resident Jeffrey Rosen, defeated Tel Aviv to secure the Israel title last year. Haifa’s winning coach, Brad Greenberg, a New Yorker with NBA experience as an assistant coach and in management, now works the sidelines for HaPoel Jerusalem, whose American owners include Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire.

Americans are among the minority owners of Maccabi Tel Aviv, and its head coach, David Blatt, is a Bostonian who made aliyah.

The team is expanding its U.S. visibility through a deal reached last week with the MSG Network, which broadcasts Knicks games, to screen Tel Aviv highlights and features on top of agreements in place with Comcast’s Chicago affiliate and the Los Angeles-based Jewish Life Television.

“The Maccabi Tel Aviv brand is a very strong one, so it seems like a great fit,” said Brad Pomerance, senior vice president for news and programming at JLTV, which on Sunday will screen its fourth monthly program on the team.

Such publicity and the renewal of NBA exhibition games will help in attaining another ambitious goal: Tel Aviv’s planned construction of a basketball academy.

In the conversation with JTA, Drikes said the academy would be constructed in the city and house up to 150 promising basketball players, mostly boys. It would open in the fall of 2015 at a cost of $15 million, he said.

Drikes said he hopes his team’s U.S. visit in October will attract Jewish Americans and others “to be financial partners” in the venture while drawing Jewish ballplayers from America to attend the academy.

Charity, Support And Some Hoops

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

   Many organizations and charities hold various events to help raise needed funds to continue their operations. Typical fundraisers include benefit dinners, Chinese auctions, and raffles – all worthy and enjoyable affairs. But few organizations have sponsored an inventive activity such as the one by Migdal Ohr Educational Center, Israel’s largest orphanage, founded by Rabbi Yitzchak Grossman. In October 2007, the organization held a basketball game between the New York Knicks and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

 

   It was the first time that the Knicks had hosted an international team at Madison Square Garden, and over 18,000 people made it their business to witness it. And while it was merely an exhibition game, it counted where it aimed to: tickets were sold out and it raised $1.2 million, with all net proceeds going towards Migdal Ohr activities and programs.

 

   Now, the organization hopes to surpass that amount when it presents another game between the Knicks and Maccabi Tel Aviv on October 18. Another game between Maccabi and the Los Angeles Clippers is also planned for October 20 at Staples Center in LA.

 

   Robert Katz, executive vice president of the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, explained, “The first game between the Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Knicks set the bar so high we knew we’d have to offer something extra this time, now with two games only days apart. Based on feedback and enthusiasm for the game, I have full confidence that both games will be sold out as well.”

 

   Migdal Ohr was founded in 1972 by Rabbi Grossman with the goal of providing educational opportunities and social guidance for children from impoverished or underprivileged backgrounds. In Migdal Ha’Emek, the development town where Rabbi Grossman moved to in 1968 at age 22, children were living with problems most people only see on television: family drug problems, abuse in the home, parents in jail, and poverty, all due to the rapid growth in population size before the socio-economic infrastructure could be firmly established.

 

   Feeling compelled to take action and help these kids have a fighting chance at a normal and productive life, Rabbi Grossman began visiting local discos and hangouts to engage these kids in dialogue. Intrigued by “the Disco rabbi,” as Rabbi Grossman came to be called, youngsters and adolescents eventually made their way over towards a Torah way of life.

 

   Rabbi Grossman, who had been elected chief rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek (at age 23, the youngest person to become a municipal chief rabbi in Israel), saw results right away: criminal activity was reduced which, in turn, encouraged businesses to set up factories and supply the area’s many unemployed residents with jobs.

 

   Despite societal improvements within Migdal Ha’Emek, poverty, unemployment, and criminal activity are still rampant, and there are families throughout Israel in similar impoverished circumstances. It is these families, especially the children, who Rabbi Grossman hopes to reach through one of Migdal Ohr’s many initiatives.

 

   Migdal Ohr sponsors a number of services, including a day care center for infants to toddlers up to age three; kindergarten school; elementary school equipped with dorms, youth centers, and computer and library facilities; community activities; and a teacher’s seminary to train future rabbis and teachers. Other programs include one for prisoner rehabilitation and one for orphans from the former Soviet Union, who are placed with families specially trained to accommodate them and give them a new lease on life.

 

   The remarkable range of services currently provides for over 6,000 children; the lives Migdal Ohr has touched and positively impacted are countless.

 

   Perhaps Mr. Katz summed up the charity basketball game best when he said, “Sure, you can pay hundreds of dollars to go to a dinner and eat rubbery chicken to raise money for a worthy cause. But thanks to the more original idea of an action-packed exhibition basketball game, you can have an exhilarating experience for a fairly low price.”

 

   Tickets for the event went on sale in May, and are available through Ticketmaster, nyknicks.com, and the Madison Square Garden box office. Those who wish to purchase courtside or lower-level seats should contact 212-397-3700 or email robert@migdalohrusa.org.

  

Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv took on the New York Knicks at MSG in 2007. The two will face off again October 18.

Charity, Support And Some Hoops

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

   Many organizations and charities hold various events to help raise needed funds to continue their operations. Typical fundraisers include benefit dinners, Chinese auctions, and raffles – all worthy and enjoyable affairs. But few organizations have sponsored an inventive activity such as the one by Migdal Ohr Educational Center, Israel’s largest orphanage, founded by Rabbi Yitzchak Grossman. In October 2007, the organization held a basketball game between the New York Knicks and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

 

   It was the first time that the Knicks had hosted an international team at Madison Square Garden, and over 18,000 people made it their business to witness it. And while it was merely an exhibition game, it counted where it aimed to: tickets were sold out and it raised $1.2 million, with all net proceeds going towards Migdal Ohr activities and programs.

 

   Now, the organization hopes to surpass that amount when it presents another game between the Knicks and Maccabi Tel Aviv on October 18. Another game between Maccabi and the Los Angeles Clippers is also planned for October 20 at Staples Center in LA.

 

   Robert Katz, executive vice president of the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, explained, “The first game between the Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Knicks set the bar so high we knew we’d have to offer something extra this time, now with two games only days apart. Based on feedback and enthusiasm for the game, I have full confidence that both games will be sold out as well.”

 

   Migdal Ohr was founded in 1972 by Rabbi Grossman with the goal of providing educational opportunities and social guidance for children from impoverished or underprivileged backgrounds. In Migdal Ha’Emek, the development town where Rabbi Grossman moved to in 1968 at age 22, children were living with problems most people only see on television: family drug problems, abuse in the home, parents in jail, and poverty, all due to the rapid growth in population size before the socio-economic infrastructure could be firmly established.

 

   Feeling compelled to take action and help these kids have a fighting chance at a normal and productive life, Rabbi Grossman began visiting local discos and hangouts to engage these kids in dialogue. Intrigued by “the Disco rabbi,” as Rabbi Grossman came to be called, youngsters and adolescents eventually made their way over towards a Torah way of life.

 

   Rabbi Grossman, who had been elected chief rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek (at age 23, the youngest person to become a municipal chief rabbi in Israel), saw results right away: criminal activity was reduced which, in turn, encouraged businesses to set up factories and supply the area’s many unemployed residents with jobs.

 

   Despite societal improvements within Migdal Ha’Emek, poverty, unemployment, and criminal activity are still rampant, and there are families throughout Israel in similar impoverished circumstances. It is these families, especially the children, who Rabbi Grossman hopes to reach through one of Migdal Ohr’s many initiatives.

 

   Migdal Ohr sponsors a number of services, including a day care center for infants to toddlers up to age three; kindergarten school; elementary school equipped with dorms, youth centers, and computer and library facilities; community activities; and a teacher’s seminary to train future rabbis and teachers. Other programs include one for prisoner rehabilitation and one for orphans from the former Soviet Union, who are placed with families specially trained to accommodate them and give them a new lease on life.

 

   The remarkable range of services currently provides for over 6,000 children; the lives Migdal Ohr has touched and positively impacted are countless.

 

   Perhaps Mr. Katz summed up the charity basketball game best when he said, “Sure, you can pay hundreds of dollars to go to a dinner and eat rubbery chicken to raise money for a worthy cause. But thanks to the more original idea of an action-packed exhibition basketball game, you can have an exhilarating experience for a fairly low price.”

 

   Tickets for the event went on sale in May, and are available through Ticketmaster, nyknicks.com, and the Madison Square Garden box office. Those who wish to purchase courtside or lower-level seats should contact 212-397-3700 or email robert@migdalohrusa.org.


  


Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv took on the New York Knicks at MSG in 2007. The two will face off again October 18.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/charity-support-and-some-hoops/2009/06/17/

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