As a child growing up on Long Island, Richard Markowitz would hear stories from his Hungarian-born grandparents about an illustrious, distant relative who had died three decades earlier. “I heard that I had a famous cousin who was a fencer,” says Markowitz, now an internist in Hewlett. “They may have said he was an Olympian.” It wasn’t until Markowitz took up the sport in high school, becoming a skilled fencer by college, that he found out exactly who his cousin was.
Pearl Resnick's father immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine before World War I, intending to send soon for his pregnant wife and three daughters. But the war broke out, there was a ban on American visas, and Resnick's family was not reunited here for nearly a decade.
According to local memory, thousands of Jewish men, women and children were executed by Nazi soldiers at the edge of a reservoir in Uman, a village in Ukraine, during the Holocaust.
More than six decades later, Jews from around the world (nearly all of them men) are returning Jewish life to Uman.
For the last 20 years, chasidic Jews and other Orthodox Jews from Israel, the United States and other countries have congregated for Rosh HaShanah in Uman, where Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, an early chasidic leader, is buried. The rabbi died there in 1810.
A largely behind-the-scenes campaign on behalf of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has gone public in recent weeks, as a variety of Jewish organizations and former American political officials have urged the onetime naval intelligence analyst’s release from a life prison sentence.
The Jewish connection to the Olympic Games is as old as the modern Olympics movement. Unfortunately, some of the connections are tragic, like the murder of 11 members of Israel’s team at the Munich Games in 1972.
Last week The Jewish Week looked at some largely unknown parts of Olympic Jewish history. This week, the Olympics and the Holocaust.
Yossi Goldberg played soccer and basketball as a boy growing up in Israel, but figure skating was in his blood — his mother was a figure skater in Lithuania.
That, says Goldberg, founder and president of the Israeli Figure Skating Association, is why he has devoted a dozen years to a winter sport in a Mediterranean country.
Retelling the story of the exodus to freedom will have a special meaning this Passover for two elderly former Soviet Jews, both of whom became American citizens recently with the help of citizenship courses funded by UJA-Federation.