As the President of the Rabbinical Assembly, I was privileged to participate in a small lunchtime reception welcoming the recently liberated Israeli prisoner of war Gilad Shalit to New York. The reception was sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the umbrella organization whose constituent members had played an integral part in the international campaign to gain Shalit’s release.
National Basketball Association teams, fans and analysts seem to be in a constant search for the “next Michael Jordan,” looking for a player to duplicate the feats of the six-time champion and five-time Most Valuable Player many consider the best ever in his sport.
Lior Eliyahu won’t enter that conversation, but the “next Omri Casspi” seems more realistic.
The traditional dynamic of black-Jewish relations in sports and entertainment is pretty straight-forward, and nothing to brag about: African Americans make the product, Jews sell it. You don't need to dig too deep into history to find relevant examples: Lyor Cohen and Rick Rubin ran the show at Def Jam, the hip-hop label juggernaut, until only recently. And David Stern still happily resides over the NBA.