Synagogue basketball league takes over JDS


Adam Pearlman

The mixed purple team is currently undefeated with a 5-0 record.

Eitan Rattner, Reporter

As the winter basketball season came to an end at CESJDS, many student-athletes still found themselves wanting to continue to play basketball into the spring. As a result, many students now participate in a new recreational United Synagogue Youth (USY) league through their synagogues. 

The USY is a Jewish youth organization in North America that focuses on providing social, educational and spiritual opportunities for Jewish teens and is affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. USY has had basketball leagues like this one running throughout the United States since the 1980s, but now after hearing from many people in the D.C. area, they decided to set up a league in Montgomery County.

USY has partnered with synagogues including B’nai Israel, Shaare Torah, Beth El and Adas Israel, but is open to any Jewish 8-12th grader who would like to participate in a spring basketball tournament. Games take place on Sunday, and they were previously played in B’nai Israel, but have since shifted to the JCC and JDS.

“The whole idea of having an extra Jewish program is great. Especially for kids in public schools who have finished their bar mitzvah,” Steve Silberglied, coach for the B’nai Israel team said

Freshman Matty Stillman, who plays for the B’nai Israel team, says that the best part of participating in the league is that he has the opportunity to keep playing basketball during the offseason. This enables him to practice and prepare for the new school season next fall. He also says it is a great opportunity for him to improve his skills and become a better basketball player. 

Stillman says that this league gives him opportunities to experiment with the gameplay. This can be either by trying out new and interesting plays to run or developing new moves. He also says that it is overall beneficial to just play basketball during the offseason as a way to stay in the rhythm of the game, and ensure he is prepared for the next season.

“Being able to play against and with friends just makes the experience better… The fact that everyone kind of knows each other from somewhere or another. Being with friends, being able to hang out with people that you know and being able to compete against them just makes it much better,” freshman Micah Goldrich, a member of the Shaare Torah team, said.

This year, the league is being run by Beth El. They are in charge of the administrative duties of the league such as the scheduling, setup and execution of the league and have done a very good job in making sure that it runs as smoothly as possible. Silbergield said that considering that this is the season’s first year, everything went very well and exceeded his expectations.

The league has bright hopes for the future and are encouraging new teens to join so that the league can expand and have more Jewish teens have fun.

“My favorite part about the league is that I have a lot of friends that are on different teams than mine so I get to play against my friends which I haven’t done competitively before,” Stillman said.