Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here?

David Dee, Anthony Clavane

03/03/2013
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Two writers upset the widely held belief that Jews and sport don’t mix: Anthony Clavane celebrates the unsung pioneers who played a key role in English football’s transformation from working-class pursuit to global entertainment industry, and David Dee shows the impact British Jews have had on sport from football to boxing and golf.

We enjoyed a secret social history of the beautiful game, and more, from players and owners to fans, reflecting an immigrant community’s century of integration in Britain.

“What Chutzpah!” thundered Clavane’s headmaster in the 1960s. “Football is not for a Yiddisher boy!” He and his classmates were subjected to a half hour lecture on why Jews were the people of the book, not of the penalty kick. “The next morning, at break-time, we played with a tennis ball. When he confiscated that, we switched to an apple core.”

From Leeds to Manchester and the East End, journalist Clavane and historian Dee swap stories of Orthodox Jews who frowned on sport, golf clubs that would not admit Jews, youth clubs wanting to turn out healthy Englishmen, and heroes from Olympian Harold Abrahams to Tottenham Hotspur owner Alan Sugar.

David Dee

David Dee is Lecturer in Modern History at De Montfort University, Leicester, and author of Sport and British Jewry Integration, Ethnicity and Anti-Semitism, 1890-1970.

David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt is a sports writer, journalist and broadcaster and author of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football.

Anthony Clavane

Anthony Clavane is a journalist with the Sunday Mirror and author of Promised Land and Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? The Story of English Football’s Forgotten Tribe.