News Briefs: Jewish Sports Hall of Famers Announced, NBA Star Talks Israeli Wine, and More


Schindler’s List Survivor with Local Connection Dies at 99

Margot Schlesinger, who survived the Holocaust as one of the factory workers on Schindler’s List, died Feb. 7 in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. She was 99.

Schlesinger’s daughter, Aline Yolkut, lives in the Philadelphia area and is the widow of Rabbi Morton F. Yolkut, who retired in 2008 after 13 years at what was then Shaare Shamayim-Beth Judah. Rabbi Yolkut died in 2013.

Despite working for industrialist Oskar Schindler, Schlesinger was one of 300 female workers mistakenly sent to Auschwitz in 1944, the Sun-Times reported. Schindler eventually got his workers back. Before that happened, however, Schlesinger survived a selection process where she found herself face-to-face with notorious SS physician Josef Mengele.

“I got very frightened and very pale, and I said, ‘I’m young, I can still work,’” she told the USC Shoah Foundation. “So there was another doctor, and he said, ‘Let her go back.’”

“No one ever walked out of Auschwitz except for this group of Schindlerjuden,” Aline Yolkut told the Sun-Times.

Six Selected for Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2018 induction class will include six honorees.

They include former University of Pennsylvania basketball star Bruce Lefkowitz; boxer-turned-trainer Marty Felman; former MLB catcher Jesse Levis; former field hockey and lacrosse star and coach Lauren Becker Rubin; Maccabi youth basketball coach Brian Schiff; and former 76ers and Spectrum President Lou Scheinfeld.

The new members will be enshrined at the hall’s annual induction ceremony on May 23 at the Gershman Y.

Former NBA Star Debuts Kosher Israeli Wines

a bottle of kosher Manischewitz wine being poured into a wine glass
debyaho / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire unveiled a line of kosher-for-Passover Israeli wines on Feb. 20 in New York, according to JTA.

Stoudemire, who was a six-time all-star, retired from basketball in 2017 after playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, which won the Israeli Basketball League Cup. He said he spoke for about three years with the Israel Wine Producers Association about developing an Israeli wine.

Stoudemire was raised Christian but first visited Israel in 2010, and started pursuing his spiritual connection to Judaism at that time. He has said he identifies with the Hebrew Israelites.

There are two red wine blends among Stoudemire’s offerings and one Cabernet Sauvignon. Tulip Winery in Kfar Tikva is producing the wines in limited quantities, which, for now, are only available in New York and New Jersey stores.

Adelson Offers to Pay for Embassy in Jerusalem

Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has offered to pay for part of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — an offer the Trump administration is considering, the Associated Press reported.

The legality of accepting private donations is being explored by State Department lawyers. Allowing private citizens to pay for government building costs “would mark a significant departure from historical U.S. practice,” the AP reported.

Adelson, who is a Las Vegas casino magnate, apparently is willing to pay the difference between the entire cost and what the Trump administration can raise.  


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