(L-R) Richard Cohen, inductee; Buzz Bissinger, inductee; Glenn Fine, inductee; Lisa Hoffstein, inductee; Stephen H. Frishberg, board chair; Phil Kendall, accepting on behalf of George Katz; Rich Yankowitz, inductee; (front) Al Schrier, board member; (behind Al), Lewis Katz, Pillar of Achievement recipient; Fred Shabel, inductee; and Michael Barkann, master of ceremonies and Hall of Fame member.
— by Scott D. Bluebond and Debbie Weiss
The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) celebrated its 15th anniversary by honoring eight new individuals in a reception held on May 21, 2012 at the Gershman Y at Broad and Pine Streets in Philadelphia. The 2012 inductees include Buzz Bissinger, Richard Cohen, Glenn Fine, Lisa Hoffstein, George Katz, Fred Shabel, Rich Yankowitz, and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Lewis Katz. In addition, the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games® Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes received special recognition.
The inductees into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame represent the best of the best, those individuals and teams who, through perseverance, dedication, superior talent and skills, have risen to the top of their respective sports. Their names and achievements are celebrated within the walls of the museum. Each PJSHOF inductee has been involved in sports as an athlete, coach, manager, administrator, team owner, or as a member of the media. They must have at least one Jewish parent and have lived within, or competed within the five county Greater Philadelphia area. They have joined a special group of approximately 120 past honorees. This includes the Philadelphia SPHAs, a championship basketball team that was dominant between the two World Wars and later became the NBA Warriors; Philadelphia Phillies senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., NFL Films founders Ed and Steve Sabol; Philadelphia Flyers founder Ed Snider; NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, and many others.
More after the jump.
This year’s special class includes coaches, charity founders, sports managers and a prize-winning writer:
- Buzz Bissinger is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author, and now talk show host, best known for his
non-fiction book, Friday Night Lights.
- Richard Cohen is a world class tennis and squash player known also for his tennis coaching prowess.
- Glenn Fine is a former inspector general of the United States Department of Justice and Rhodes Scholar, who was a 10th-round draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs.
- Lisa Hoffstein, University of Pennsylvania tennis star, is president and founder of “The Katie At The Bat Team,” dedicated to empowering inner-city children to achieve their full potential through participation in athletics.
- Posthumous awardee George Katz was a boxing manager famous for handling his boxers with extreme caution. He guided many good Philly contenders including Gil Turner and Kitten Hayward.
- Fred A. Shabel has been vice-chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, the high profile sports and entertainment organization, for the past 32 years.
- Rich Yankowitz, longtime head basketball coach at Dobbins Tech, is the winningest coach in Philadelphia Public League history.
- Pillar of Achievement honoree Lewis Katz is a Camden-raised entrepreneur, former owner of the New
Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils, and philanthropist. He is director of the Katz Foundation, which supports a variety of charitable, educational and medical causes. He joins a distinguished group that includes Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman, Sam Rabinowitz, and 2011 inductee, Steve Cozen.
Al Shrier served as ceremony chairman; Jay Goldberg, nominating committee chair; Harriet Beloff Goodwin; décor chair; and Louis Schmidt, publication chair. Deborah P. Weiss is the director and Stephen H. Frishberg is chair of the board.
The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and its sports museum honor local Jewish teams and athletes, many of whom actually played their sports in the Broad Street PJSHOF location. Founded in 1997 to celebrate the contributions of local Jewish pioneers and heroes in the sports world, the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame soon expanded to a full-fledged museum with an endowment from the Levis family. It is located in the old YM-YWHA, where many of the basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, track and swimming stars practiced and played. There are lockers filled with uniforms, equipment and other memorabilia representing Jewish athletes associated with local teams like the Flyers and 76ers. There is also a gripping memorial remembering the Israeli athletes who were killed during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Games.
The mission of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is to provide the community with tangible and lasting evidence of the past, present and future of Jewish sportsmen and sportswomen in the Greater Philadelphia area and to instill community pride in Jewish accomplishments in the field of sports and the role sports has played in preserving Jewish culture. The hall and museum reflect the obstacles Jews had to overcome in order to excel in sporting endeavors locally, nationally and internationally; portray the instrumental role sports has played in Jewish life; and provide continuity to future generations of Jewish athletes. Celebrating 15 years in 2012, the PJSHOF is open Sunday through Friday and provides tours by request. Please call 215-900-7999, write [email protected] to learn more.