Misc.

8 Current Athletes You Didn't Know Were Jewish…

No. 8: Michael Cammalleri

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Despite describing his upbringing as non-denominational, Cammalleri’s grandparents on his mother’s side were Holocaust survivors, and when pressed on his religious affiliation, he admits that he’s a proud member of the tribe. Originally drafted by the Kings in 2001, Michael’s played for Los Angeles, Montreal, and Calgary in his 14+ NHL career. He’s currently an alternate captain for the Devils…

No. 7: Sue Bird

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All right, this one’s a stretch, but minus Omri Casspi (who currently plays for the Sacramento Kings) there aren’t a whole lotta hoopers with Jewish blood in their veins. Bird’s father Herschel was an Italian-born Russian Jew who channeled Larry in changing his last name to “Bird” from “Boorda,” but Sue’s mother is Christian and she identifies with her mother’s faith. So yeah, you’re only two names down this list and we’re already blurring the lines of what we consider Jewish. Deal with it…

No. 6: Kevin Pillar

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The Blue Jays starting center fielder and renowned home run thief was born and raised in West Hills, CA to a Jewish mother and Christian father (anyone noticing a theme here?). Pillar was raised Jewish, and had a Bar Mitzvah before starring at Chaminade College Prep, a Catholic high school. He went on to star at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and despite not being taken until the 32nd round in 2011, made it to the Big Leagues two years later…

No. 5: Mitchell Schwartz

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Graded as one of the top tackles in the NFL, Schwartz starred at Cal before the Browns selected him in the second round (47th overall) of the 2012 draft. Growing up in Pacific Palisades, CA, Mitchell was too big to play Pop Warner, and instead focused on academics (he finished high school with a 4.3 GPA and a 34 ACT score) before finally entertaining the gridiron as a freshman in high school. He signed a five-year, $33 million contract with the Chiefs in the offseason, and also wrote a book with his brother Geoff (an NFL free agent) entitled “Eat My Schwartz,” which discusses (among other topics) the influence family and faith has had on their professional triumphs…

No. 4: Alex Bregman

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One of the top-ranked prospects in baseball, Bregman was born and raised in Albuquerque, Opposite-of-old Mexico and played his college ball at LSU. After winning all sorts of awards with the Tigers, the Astros selected Alex with the second overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and gave him a $5.9 million signing bonus. Houston called Bregman up in July 2016, and he finished his first MLB season with a .264 average and eight home runs…

No. 3: Danny Valencia

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The last name “Valencia” doesn’t exactly scream Jew like “Goldberg” or “Cohen,” but Danny’s mother Mindy raised her son Jewish, and got his father (Michael, a Cuban immigrant) to join the club as well. A native of Boca Raton, FL, Valencia starred at the University of Miami with Ryan Braun before Twins selected him in the 19th round of the 2006 MLB Draft. After debuting in 2010, Danny bounced around before having a career year (.287/.346/.447) for the A’s in 2016. He was traded to the Mariners in the offseason, where he projects as Seattle’s Opening Day third baseman…

No. 2: Benny Feilhaber

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After fleeing Vienna in 1938, Feilhaber’s paternal grandfather ended up in Rio de Janeiro, which is where Benny was born. His family relocated to the States when Feilhaber was six, and his pursuit of soccer stardom took him from Scarsdale, NY to high schools in Katy, TX, and Irvine, CA. Benny eventually landed at UCLA as a recruited walk-on, where he starred with fellow Jew Jonathan Bornstein. His performance on the United States U-20 team caught the attention of several European clubs, and he signed with Hamburg in 2005, making his Bundesliga debut in 2006. After several years on the other side of the pond, Feilhaber returned to the USA in 2011, and currently stars for Sporting Kansas City….

No.1: Julian Edelman

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Although raised Christian, Edelman (the ultimate underdog) stated in 2013 that he identifies as Jewish, a major coup for the tribe. Born in Redwood City, CA, Julian’s father is part Jewish, and the speedy Pats wideout famously wore an Israeli-American flag pin on his hat during the Pats 2014 game against the Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Did Edelman embrace his Jewish heritage partially to placate Patriots owner Bob Kraft, a renowned Old Testament enthusiast? Probably, but that just makes us respect him even more…

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