Know a teenage Jewish baseball prodigy? Now’s their chance to try out for Team Israel

Dean Pelman pitched for Team Israel Baseball at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy of Dean Pelman)

Historically, young Jewish athletes have had to choose between embracing a Jewish life and turning pro. But Brad Eisen is hoping to change that. Despite not having a background in baseball, the longtime sports front-officer staffer, formerly of the Los Angeles Clippers and LA Galaxy, is embarking on a new project to showcase Jewish prospects from across North America for Israel’s national baseball team, fostering an international community while giving a platform to young Jewish athletes. It’s called the Israel Baseball Academy, and events are being held across the United States starting in May.

Eisen sits down with James to explain his passion project. And before that, the hosts give their usual roundup of Jewish sports news, plus they dive deep into recent examples of non-Jewish athletes doing Jewish stuff, inspired by a long-hidden photo of the late Guy Lafleur holding a siddur.

What we talked about


Menschwarmers is hosted by James Hirsh and Gabe Pulver, and produced and edited by Michael Fraiman. Our intro music is by Coby Lipovitch, and our outro music is “Organ Grinder Swing” by chēēZ π. This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network. Follow the Menschwarmers on Twitter @menschwarmers or TikTok @menschwarmers. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.