Surprise: Yeshiva University’s Maccabees Have the Longest Winning Streak in the History of Men’s College Basketball

Since Elliot Steinmetz took over as the head basketball coach at Yeshiva University (YU)—a predominantly Orthodox school in Manhattan that offers rabbinic ordination along with conventional degrees—the team has won 69 percent of its games, with a record-making streak this season. Its best player, the six-foot-seven Ryan Turell, turned down athletic scholarships at schools with Division I teams so that he could continue his religious studies at YU; the NBA has nonetheless shown interest in him. Gary Belsky describes what makes the team unique:

Yeshiva’s subordination of athletics to almost everything else is unusual, even for a Division III school. “There’s no pressure from boosters on coaches,” the athletic director, Greg Fox, says. “There’s no pressure from coaches on professors or admissions. Zero. Student-athletes are expected to fulfill both their undergraduate Torah studies and general-studies class requirements.” Practice on most days is at 6 am, before morning prayer services. The result is a team of players who present as notably thoughtful and balanced, sometimes to an almost unbelievable extreme.

Gabriel Leifer, [another of the team’s star players], who’s all of twenty-two, is gearing up for his final season while navigating the demands of his second year of marriage, his first year of grad school, and the early months of a full-time job as a real-estate tax associate for the global consulting giant PwC.

Steinmetz knew all the obstacles and saw opportunity. “I thought if I could get top-level Orthodox kids to ‘stay home,’ [i.e., attend YU rather than a school with a Division I basketball team], we could build something great,” says the coach, whose team hasn’t had a losing season since he took over.

Read more at ESPN

More about: Modern Orthodoxy, Sports, Yeshiva University


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7