Danny Schayes

How did sports impact your Jewish identity?

Sports has enhanced my Jewish identity greatly. I have traveled to Israel on 5 occasions that were sports related trips. My first transformational Jewish experience occurred when I traveled to Israel for the Maccabiah Games as a high school senior. I went to play sports and came away with an understanding of what it meant to be a Jew that I could never have achieved by living in the US. I later enjoyed a long NBA career and for a time was the only Jewish player in the league. I was often met by Jewish fans at the games. The connection between Judaism and sports had been a long term love affair for me.


What advice would you give to a young Jewish athlete today?

The best advice that I can give for a young Jewish athlete today is to pursue the joy of sports to the highest level possible. Sports, academics, and Jewish life can absolutely coexist. The phrase “sound mind, sound body” is one of the most fundamental because it is at the core of every life. Sports is an ideal complement to an academic life, and also compliments a spiritual one.

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HaYidion Athletics Winter 2015
Winter 2015