Ryan Braun and the Other Active Jews Who Will Be Keeping Kosher for Passover

Corey HanleyContributor IIIApril 18, 2011

Ryan Braun and the Other Active Jews Who Will Be Keeping Kosher for Passover

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    MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 04: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers greets teammates during player inrtoductions before the home opener against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on April 4, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Braves defeated the Brewers 2-1. (
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With Passover coming up soon, it's nice to take a look at the small selection of Jewish athletes that entertain us every night.

    Many Jews have donned jerseys for your favorite teams, such as Sandy Koufax, Shawn Green, and Hank Greenberg. In this era, there are still a few superstars that can smack the matzo ball out of the park or throw around a substitute to the pigskin (because pig isn't kosher).

    So when you feel like the only kid in town without an Easter bunny, here's a list of current athletes who are Jewish. Just like you and me.

Ruben Amaro, Philadelphia Phillies

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 15: Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with the media while general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. (L) watches during a press conference at Citizens Bank Park on December 15, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Phot
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    I know I said active athletes, but I'm going to count Amaro in this list because he is an active GM and did play professional baseball in the past.

    Ruben Amaro grew up in an inter-faith family, but celebrated the major Jewish holidays. 

    He was inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (doesn't seem that hard to get in if it only takes a .235 career average).

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

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    ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Ryan Braun's father immigrated to America as a child and taught his son the values of Judaism.

    One of the elite hitters in the majors, Braun is one of the best Jewish athletes today. His nickname, "The Hebrew Hammer," highlights his incredible power and commitment to his faith.

    Braun became the first Jewish Rookie of the Year following his spectacular 2006 season.

    Ryan was invited to Hanukkah dinner at the White House by George W. Bush in 2007 and was printed on a set of Jewish baseball cards in 2008, joined by a few of the forthcoming individuals. 

    Similar to Amaro, Braun was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Craig Breslow, Oakland Athletics

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    ST. PETERSBURG - APRIL 27:  Pitcher Craig Breslow #56 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 27, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Craig Breslow is known throughout sports for his incredible intelligence.

    After graduating from Yale with a B.A. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, Breslow was drafted in the 26th round of the draft by the Brewers.

    Breslow was honored by Jewish Sports Review as a Jewish collegiate All-American after he led the Ivy League in ERA in his senior season.

    He has bounced around a couple of times, but has found a home as a solid lefty in the Athletics bullpen.

    Breslow celebrates his Judaism and used it to connect with his former Red Sox teammates, Kevin Youkilis, Adam Stern and Gabe Kapler.

Ike Davis, New York Mets

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08:  Ike Davis #29 of the New York Mets bats against the Washington Nationals during the Mets' Home Opener at Citi Field on April 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York City. The Nationals won 6-2. (Photo by Al Bel
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    It's pretty easy to pick out Ike Davis as one of the few Jews in the league. His real name is Isaac and he sports a pretty prominent schnoz.

    Looks aside, Davis' mother came from Lithuanian roots and lost a good portion of her family to the Holocaust.

    Davis' father was a major league pitcher, but was Baptist.

Scott Feldman, Texas Rangers

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 07:  Scott Feldman #39 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 7, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Feldman gets his Judaism from his father's side.

    He, like Ryan Braun, was featured on the set of Jewish trading cards.

    Scott Feldman was named Jewish Major Leagues Pitcher of the Year (I'm between calling it the Oy Young or the Chy Young) after his 2009 season, where he won more games than any other Jew since 1980.

Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 03:  Outfielder Sam Fuld #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a ball against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Sam Fuld is a perfect role model for young Jews everywhere. Fuld isn't the biggest guy, but makes up for it with hard work and maximum effort.

    Fuld was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, but worked hard to not let it beat him. Fuld pushed through his disease to become an All-American at Stanford.

    After graduating and beginning to play in the Cubs minor leagues, Fuld went back to Stanford to get his master's in statistics. When Fuld tore his labrum in 2004, he got a job at STATS, Inc and pushed to learn more about the game of baseball.

    Fuld doesn't possess the physical talents as many other players, but works his butt off every game. He made a name for himself with the Cubs (and now with the Rays) by sacrificing his body to make spectacular defensive plays. 

    His offense is now starting to develop, which is great for Tampa as he brings some of the speed that they'll miss after losing Carl Crawford.

John Grabow, Chicago Cubs

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 22:  John Grabow #43 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Grabow's mother's family is of Lebanese Jewish descent. The family moved to Israel and California, where John grew up.

    Grabow was honored with the Barney Pelty Award in 2009 as the Jewish Pitcher of the Year. 

    He recently moved into second all time on the Jewish pitcher games list.

Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

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    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 11:  Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers hits a double against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Ima
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Ian Kinsler is a prominent figure in the Jewish community and is proud to be in the Hebrew spotlight.

    Kinsler was also featured on the Jewish playing cards and was one of three Jews in the 2008 All-Star Game.

    He and Youkilis often wish each other a "Happy Passover" on the bases.

Jason Marquis, Washington Nationals

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10:  Jason Marquis #21 of the Washington Nationals in action against the New York Mets during their game on April 10, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Im
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Jason Marquis grew up a Conservative Jew in Staten Island, New York. His maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

    Marquis, another of the Jewish playing cards, is currently ranked fifth in wins and strikeouts among members of the tribe.

Danny Valencia, Minnesota Twins

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 10: Danny Valencia #19 of the Minnesota Twins takes a swing against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Twins defeated the White Sox 12-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Danny Valencia's mother is Jewish.

    He, like Ryan Braun, came up as an infielder from the University of Miami Hurricanes.

    Valencia was named to the All-Rookie team after his breakthrough 2010 season.

Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox

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    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 11:  Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he hit into a double play in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park April 11, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Kevin Youkilis was a part of the record-setting Red Sox lineup that featured three Jews on August 5, 2008, an AL record. 

    Youk is one of the Jewish playing cards as well as one of the three Jewish All-Stars in 2008.

    Youkilis was the Jewish MVP in 2008. Youkilis is proud of his heritage and understands that he will have a lasting impact on Jews everywhere as a positive influence.

Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 16:  Forward Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings makes the slam dunk against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 16, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Casspi is not just Jewish, but is also an Israeli. 

    In 2009, Casspi became not only the first Israeli-born player drafted in the first round, but also the first to play in an NBA game.

    Casspi is now known for his sharp-shooting ability as a member of the Sacramento Kings.

Jordan Farmar, New Jersey Nets

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Jordan Farmar #2 of the New Jersey Netsstands on the court in the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 100-88.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly ack
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Jordan Farmar grew up with his Jewish mother and an Israeli step-father.

    He was named Southern California's Jewish Athlete of the Year after his senior season in high school.

    Farmar has been a success in the NBA.  He leads all Jews now (and possibly ever) with two NBA championships.

Amare Stoudamire, New York Knicks

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 24:  Amare Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks during his game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 24, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Surprise! This isn't a joke. Amar'e is in fact Jewish to some degree. He tops this list in my eyes as the best at his sport.

    Amar'e's mother has Jewish roots and although he was not raised specifically as a Jew, he recognizes it as a strong part of his life. 

    Amar'e visited Israel over the 2010 offseason after joining the Knicks as a journey to learn more about his roots.

    He has a tattoo on his wrist of a Star of David. I guess he doesn't mind that he won't be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

Greg Camarillo, Minnesota Vikings

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09:  Greg Camarillo #85 of the Minnesota Vikings at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Camarillo is Jewish on his mother's side, who is of Hungarian descent.

    Camarillo has slowly been making a name for himself in the NFL since his walk-off touchdown reception for the Dolphins against the Baltimore Ravens.

Kyle Kosier, Dallas Cowboys

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    LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 27:  Kyle Kosier #63 of the Dallas Cowboys defends against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 27, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Cowboys defeated the Redskins 17-0. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Kyle Kosier is entrenched as a crucial member of the starting offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys.

    He quietly helps keep Tony Romo upright, but just as quietly is Jewish.

Taylor Mays, San Francisco 49ers

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 12:  Safety Taylor Mays #23 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up prior to the NFL season opener against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on September 12, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Taylor Mays is another name that I wouldn't immediately recognize as being a Jewish athlete, but is Jewish on his mother's side.

    Mays credits his becoming Bar Mitzvah as a moment that helped shape who he is as an adult and contributed to his maturing.

Igor Olshansky, Dallas Cowboys

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 11:  Igor Olshansky #99 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during warm-up prior to the NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadiumin on October 11, 2009 Kansas City, Missouri. The Cowboys defeated the Chiefs 26-20 in
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Olshansky is a fairly prominent Jew in the NFL and is frequently recognized as a Jewish athlete.

    Igor was born in the Ukraine, but moved to America and later attended Orthodox Jewish day school in San Francisco.

    Olshansky has a one-up on Amar'e Stoudamire in that he has two Star of David tattoos.

Adam Podlesh, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Punter Adam Podlesh #3 of the Jacksonville Jaguars smiles during the game against the Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Adam Podlesh is relatively insignificant compared to the others on the list because he is just a punter, but contributes greatly to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Other than being the punter that's always left at the end of Madden fantasy drafts, Podlesh is known for being a Jew from Rochester, New York.

Sage Rosenfels, New York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Sage Rosenfels #18 of the New York Giants in action against the Washington Redskins during their game on December 5, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Sage Rosenfels, a career back-up quarterback, is Jewish on his father's side.

    Sage currently backs up the younger Manning for the New York Giants.

Honorable Mentions: Commissioners

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    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 29:  MLB commisioner Bud Selig talks with the media at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 29, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Bud Selig, MLB

    David Stern, NBA

    Don Garber, MLS

    Gary Bettman, NHL

Honorable Mentions: Owners and Others

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 10:  Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, uses a personal electonic device as he sits on the bench during warm ups against the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The N
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Leslie Alexander, Owner, Houston Rockets

    Micky Arison, Owner, Miami Heat

    Arthur Blank, Owner, Atlanta Falcons

    Steve Bornstein, President and CEO, NFL Network

    Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks

    Al Davis, Owner, Oakland Raiders

    Theo Epstein, GM, Boston Red Sox

    Dan Gilbert, Owner, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Glazer Family, Owner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United

    Ernie Grunfeld, GM, Washington Wizards

    Daryl Katz, Owner, Edmunton Oilers

    Herb Kohl, Milwaukee Bucks

    Robert Kraft, Owner, New England Patriots

    Lerner Family, Owner, Washington Nationals

    Jeffrey Lurie, Owner, Philadelphia Eagles

    Jerry Reinsdorf, Owner, Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox

    Stephen M. Ross, Owner, Miami Dolphins

    Dan Snyder, Owner, Washington Redskins

    Zygi Wilf, Owner, Minnesota Vikings

    Fred and Jeff Wilpon, Owner, New York Mets

    Lewis Wolff, Owner, Oakland Athletics