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New York - For Yeshiva University Basketball Coach, It’s All About the Journey

Published on: February 17, 2012 10:02 AM
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Jonathan Halpert, basketball coach at Yeshiva University. Photo courtesy Yeshiva University.Jonathan Halpert, basketball coach at Yeshiva University. Photo courtesy Yeshiva University.

New York - In the middle of his 40th year as the men’s basketball coach at Yeshiva University, Jonathan Halpert, normally quick with a wisecrack, could not joke his way past the truth: his team was playing poorly.

Wearing a yarmulke and dressed in navy warm-up pants he has had for 10 years and a pullover that was twice as old, Halpert sat in front of a large dry-erase board. Blue smears were all that remained of a failed game plan for Yeshiva’s 75-68 loss in December to St. Joseph’s College of Patchogue, N.Y. The Maccabees would have been victorious, Halpert said, had they not missed 10 layups. 

“I’ve done a great job this season,” he said. “I’ve done everything I can possibly do. If your team is missing layups, there’s nothing more you can do.”

The challenges of coaching at a university like Yeshiva are nothing new to the 67-year-old Halpert, currently the longest-serving basketball coach in New York City. Yeshiva students attend Judaic and secular courses for up to 12 hours a day, the team practices just four times a week because of the Sabbath, and the Maccabees’ opponents frequently possess more talent and superior training.

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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM Anonymous Says:

Its obvious that the bochurim who play on the team need to take a bit of time away from their shiiurim and practice longer. You cannot compete effectively with teams that play together several hours a day, 6 days a week during the season, and expect to be successful, especially against teams with superior native talent.

2

 Feb 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM ProudMO Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its obvious that the bochurim who play on the team need to take a bit of time away from their shiiurim and practice longer. You cannot compete effectively with teams that play together several hours a day, 6 days a week during the season, and expect to be successful, especially against teams with superior native talent.

"superior native talent" is that supposed to be some kind of racial slur?

3

 Feb 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Its obvious that the bochurim who play on the team need to take a bit of time away from their shiiurim and practice longer. You cannot compete effectively with teams that play together several hours a day, 6 days a week during the season, and expect to be successful, especially against teams with superior native talent.

Why is that obvious? That's only obvious if YU's primary goal is to have the basketball team as good as they possibly can. According to you, maybe they should just stop the shiurim all together!

These kids obviously don't have a future in basketball. At least with shiurim or classes they can retain something that will help them later in life.

4 days a week is plenty of practice. It doesn't matter how much practice you have if you don't have the talent to compete.

4

 Feb 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
ProudMO Says:

"superior native talent" is that supposed to be some kind of racial slur?

No...a lot of the other schools in the league that YU plays in recruit the best basketball players of any race without regard to academics. Indeed, some other schools with ties to a specific faith (e.g. Jesuit colleges) recruit players without regard to their religous affiliation. I haven't heard of YU awarding athletic scholarships to basketball players from Kentucky who speak yiddish with a southern drawl and are married to their first cousin who is neither a Satmar or Bobover choosid.

5

 Feb 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM Unasked_Question Says:

Gevald!

Playing poorly, playing good ?!?! When will we be zocheh to see our kids -in Yiddish Speaking, Chassidish- yeshivos playing Basket ball or any sports for that matter.

Ani maamin... V'af-al-pi Sheyismameia, Im kol zeh achakeh loi....

6

 Feb 17, 2012 at 01:34 PM menachemwh Says:

Whata Kidush Hashem David Brooks in the NY Times quoted the Rav concerning Jeremy Lin and religion.

7

 Feb 17, 2012 at 02:17 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #2  
ProudMO Says:

"superior native talent" is that supposed to be some kind of racial slur?

I suppose for some paranoid liberal looking for instances of "racism" under every bed it would appear to be so. But for well-adjusted men with brains, there is no perception of racism in the contention that shwartzes are much more congenitally talented in sports, especially sports requiring men to leap upwards, than whites.

8

 Feb 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM Yekke58 Says:

As a yiddishe mamma I would say I am just happy the bocherim are getting some exercise. Who cares if they win?

9

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