Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maryland Women & YU Men Capture Kiddush Cup in the 2nd National Hillel Basketball Tournament

28 teams representing 16 schools descended upon University of Maryland this past weekend for three days celebrating basketball, Shabbat and Jewish comradery. The weekend began with students arriving at UMD Friday afternoon, followed by Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Shabbat services occurring in respective places. Saturday provided players and fans with plenty of activities. In addition to services in the morning, such events as a Maryland football scrimmage and a music festival were offered to all. But by 8:30 PM Saturday night, game time had approached. Men’s and women’s Teams from schools such as Cornell, Brandeis, Yeshiva University, New York University, Rutgers, Miami, Barnard and Stern began round robin play, with each team playing three games to determine seeding. Sunday saw bracket play with teams eliminating one another until the final champion stood alone. On the men’s side, a Yeshiva University team captained by 6”1 senior Steven Ritholtz, the second place team from the 2011 tournament, came out on top against the Jonah Weisel-led Maryland team. On the women’s side, a University of Maryland team captained by 5”6 sophomore Danielle Miller beat the University of Pennsylvania team. Leading up to the tournament, each team was responsible for raising $1200 to finance food and jerseys. Although from an outside perspective the weekend seemed to emphasize competition and rivalry, it resulted in a whole lot more. The weekend wasn’t about Reform vs. Conservative vs. Orthodox, but about Jews being united through something as simple as basketball. Scott Scheff, a sophomore guard playing for Columbia, put it best when he said, “It's really great to see so many people and have the chance to meet new people.” Maryland sophomore guard Josh Rappaport stated, “It was fun and surprisingly competitive, but, at the end of the day, it was a great way to bring Jewish college students together. For me, and I’m sure many others would echo this, it was just as great to play competitive, organized ball again as it was to hang out with all my friends that were here representing their respective schools.” At the end of the day, the tournament was not only about basketball, but about bringing together young college Jews in a natural forum.

- Elan Kane

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