Gabriel Leiter of Yeshiva University drives on a Purchase College defender in the Skyline Conference championship game, Feb. 25, 2018. (Photo/Courtesy Yeshiva University)
Gabriel Leiter of Yeshiva University drives on a Purchase College defender in the Skyline Conference championship game, Feb. 25, 2018. (Photo/Courtesy Yeshiva University)

We’re just giddy about Yeshiva University in NCAA tourney

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This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews” podcast …


Larry Rosen: Normally this is the time I give you the Omri Casspi update, but this week, no update.

Eric Goldbrener: No update? I depend on these updates!

LR: Nothing to report. Omri is glued to the bench.

EG: He’s …

LR: Not literally. He’s not actually affixed to the bench. He’s just not getting any playing time. I have to be careful with you.

EG: Oh, I see. But why aren’t they [the Golden State Warriors] playing him? I thought he was fundamentally sound?

LR: It’s a long season. Time will come again that they need Omri. But in other sports news …

EG: My favorite subject …

LR: … this is a historic moment. The basketball team at Yeshiva University, located somewhere in New York?

EG: I would hope so.

LR:qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament, for the first time ever. They beat SUNY-Purchase to win their [Skyline Conference] league. [Ed. note: They went on to lose 81-67 to York College of Pennsylvania in the first round.]

EG: Excellent. They’re Jews?

LR: They’re hardcore Jews. Not only are they Jews, but they play in yarmulkes.

EG: We’ve got to get behind them.

LR: So I spent some time looking into this and here’s the deal: Every college team, no matter how big or small — Yeshiva U. to Alabama — no matter what, every guy on that team was a star in high school. They’re fantastic. But I was thinking, “Yeshiva? What kind of high school basketball star chooses Yeshiva?”

EG: Right, because they’re not out there recruiting like other schools, and I’m guessing that their pool of potential recruits has to be pretty small? “Will you play in a yarmulke?”

LR: Exactly. And the other thing is — all of those kids who are studs in high school think that someday they’ll play in the NBA. How are they going to get there by playing for Yeshiva?

EG: Interesting.

LR: They’ve got a couple of big guys, 6-6, 6-7 …

EG: I’ve got a question, actually two questions. First, are all the Yeshiva players Jews?

LR: Yes.

EG: They’re all Jews. Six-six Jews? Who ever heard of such a thing!

LR: Little bit of an outlier there.

EG: Next question: Do the Arabs have a team?

LR: I don’t know that the Arabs have a university in America. Arab U.?

EG: They probably don’t call it Arab U., but there’s got to be a school out there, the Arab version of Yeshiva.

LR: It’d be a Muslim university, a religious school, because Yeshiva is a religious school, a hardcore religious school. It’s not like Brandeis University, which has Division 1 sports, lots of non-Jews. This is an entirely Jewish school.

EG: This is the real deal.

LR: And the yarmulkes that they wear have the logo of the school on it, like any other part of a basketball uniform. Now I, of course, wouldn’t be able to play for Yeshiva because the yarmulke wouldn’t stay on my head.

EG: Suction cup!

LR: Really?

EG: You think you’re the only bald Jew in the world?

LR: These are young kids, 19, 20 years old.

EG: That’s when it starts.

LR: What happens when they’re sweating? These cannot be your run-of-the-mill, nylon or velvet yarmulkes. No way do those hold up to 40 minutes of high-level basketball.

EG: There’s this substance, this tacky material called museum paste, used to stick down museum displays, that might be useful in this case.

LR: But you’re sweating. It’d be disgusting with one of these velvet yarmulkes on.

EG: Look, you’ve got to make sacrifices for the game.

LR: A lot of them have the bobby pin, is that it?

EG: The clip, right.

LR: All of these guys were good in high school, and someone came to see them, and they told their friends, “I think I’m going to play at Yeshiva,” and there’s a coach there, it’s probably not his dream job …

EG: Why would it not be his dream job?

LR: You could have a point. Why not Yeshiva?

EG: To these guys I say, “chazak v’nitchazek.”

Larry Rosen
Larry Rosen

Larry Rosen is a writer, husband, father and author of “The Rabbi Has Left the Building,” a memoir about his son’s bar mitzvah. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”

Eric Goldbrener
Eric Goldbrener

Eric Goldbrener is a Libertarian, Zionist, atheist and autodidact technologist. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”