Jewish sports heroes are topic of new book

Distant Replay! - Contributed Photo
Distant Replay!
— image credit: Contributed Photo

The Washington State Jewish Historical Society has put together a colorful and compelling new book on a topic that, even its authors acknowledge, is not usually considered fascinating fare.

The book, released last month and entitled, “Distant Replay!” is a 359-page history of Jewish Washingtonians involved, in one way or another, in sports.

The project is a fundraiser for the state’s Jewish Historical Society.

The book combines storytelling, stats and art to paint a multi-faceted view of local Jewish sports figures involved in a myriad of sports. Those sports range from high school baseball to regional sailing competitions to professional sports.

Beyond the athletes themselves, there are other characters involved in the sporting world that are duly noted in the book. They include investors, owners, coaches and horses.

WSJHS president Albert Israel said that when the idea was first brought up, he was a bit skeptical that there would be enough material to fill a book.

“I thought we’d maybe find 30 or 40 such stories,” he said. “But it just kept growing.”

He points to a joke from 1980’s comedy movie “Airplane,” to put it in perspective. It goes like this: A passenger asks a flight attendant for some light reading. The flight attendant hands the passenger a very slender book, more like a pamphlet, entitled “Famous Jewish Sports Legends.” Yet, the compilation of the book by noted Seattle filmmaker Stephen Sadis includes 180 Jewish Washingtonians who made their mark in athletics. Sprinkled throughout are the household names of teams and sports franchises. Among those are the Seattle Supersonics, the Indiana Pacers, the San Francisco 49ers, Longacres, the USA Olympics Team, U.S. Ski Team and the Seattle Storm, to name just a few.

And there is broad range of sport and competition detailed in the book. Beyond  baseball, football, basketball or track, there are tennis stars, rowing, and even sports fishermen listed.

There are those who excelled or elevated lesser-known but no less exciting sports such as Roller Derby or lacrosse or high octane endeavors such as hydroplane racing.

Islanders listed in the book include Al Moscatel, Kara Schocken, Steve Bunin, Ben Mahdavi, Adrian Hanauer, Bob Melvin, Sam McCullum, Jeff Solam, Walter Schoenfeld, Bob Melvin and others.

For more information or to order a book, visit or call 206-774-2277. Books are $36 plus tax.

Also of note:

The Museum of History and Industry in Seattle is partnering with the Washington State Jewish Historical Society on an upcoming exhibit titled “Shalom! Open for Business” that will open on view July 26. Details about the exhibit can be found at


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