The Jewish Football Coach Who Shook Up Athletics, and Protestant Dominance, at Harvard

In his forthcoming book Dyed in Crimson: Football, Faith, and Remaking Harvard’s America, Zev Eleff examines the decision in 1926 by Bill Bingham, then the Harvard University athletic director, to hire a Jew named Arnold Horween to coach the football team—and its consequences. Bingham hoped Horween could help revitalize the sport and make it more enjoyable for players and for other students; Eleff argues that, in a time of growing anti-Semitism at elite colleges, the decision opened doors for Jews in the Ivy League. Menachem Wecker writes:

In the 1920s, Boston Brahmins—wealthy New Englanders and descendants of the Puritans—ruled Harvard. Football provided a site where a working-class Protestant (Bingham), an Irish Catholic (Eddie Casey, the freshman coach), and a Midwestern Jew (Horween) could chip away at that elitism, and replace social status with merit.

A former captain of the Harvard team, Horween went on to run his family’s successful leather business in Chicago and to serve as a trustee of the Chicago Symphony. He and his brother Ralph played in the National Football League in 1923—a feat that wouldn’t be repeated in the NFL until 2012, when the Jewish brothers Mitchell Schwartz and Geoff Schwartz played for the Browns and the Vikings respectively.

Horween had already graduated from Harvard when . . . Jewish quotas were instituted. But his prominence in Cambridge challenged both Harvard’s president and its elite culture “that intended to keep outsiders . . . out of their school,” Eleff said.

In 1922, a Yale University alumni committee investigated the basketball program after a team of Jewish players from the Atlas Club beat the all-Gentile Yale team 42-22 in a charity game in front of the largest crowd in New Haven history. . . . The committee blamed anti-Semitic coaching, and after Jewish players were recruited, Yale went in 1923 from “the cellar to the championship,” [as one historian] wrote. But talented Jewish players were exceptions to the rule, whose athletic prowess overshadowed their Jewish identities.

Read more at JNS

More about: American Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, Football, Harvard, Sports

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy