State of Play: Jews, Jocks and the “American Dream”

Sunday, Nov 19, 2023

Sunday, November 19
1:00pm Program

In Person at The Weitzman
FREE Program, Registration Required

Register Here

For more than a century, American sport has served as a yardstick with which American Jews and other groups measure how much they had “made it” in the United States. Sports is also the arena in which Americans talk about social change. This panel of historians and sport insiders will discuss the power of sport and much more. Sponsored by the Shusterman Foundation.

  • Zev Eleff, PhD, President, Gratz College, author of Dyed in Crimson: Football, Faith and Remaking Harvard’s America
  • Adam Fisher, Head Coach, Temple Owls
  • Adam Neuman, JD, Chief of Staff/Special Advisor to Baltimore Ravens’ President
  • Beth Wenger, PhD, Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of History and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Fun Philly Nosh Included!

More about the Book:

“Dyed in Crimson: Football, Faith, and Remaking Harvard’s America”

In 1926, Harvard athletic director Bill Bingham chose former Crimson All-American Arnold Horween as coach of the university’s moribund football team. The pair instilled a fresh culture, one based on merit rather than social status, and in the virtues of honor and courage over mere winning. Yet their success challenged entrenched ideas about who belonged at Harvard and, by extension, who deserved to lay claim to the American dream.

Zev Eleff tells the story of two immigrants’ sons shaped by a vision of an America that rewarded any person of virtue. As a player, the Chicago-born Horween had led Harvard to its 1920 Rose Bowl victory. As a coach, he faced intractable opposition from powerful East Coast alumni because of his values and Midwestern, Jewish background. Eleff traces Bingham and Horween’s careers as student-athletes and their campaign to wrest control of the football program from alumni. He also looks at how Horween undermined stereotypes of Jewish masculinity and dealt with the resurgent antisemitism of the 1920s.

Supported by a major endowment, the Shusterman Distinguished Scholar Lecture is dedicated to bringing outstanding programs to Gratz College. Gratz College is grateful for the generosity and foresight of the late Judith and Murray Shusterman.

Produced by Gratz College in Partnership with the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

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For More Information Contact:
Mindy Cohen
215-635-7300 x155;
Should you need an accommodation, please get in touch with Naomi Housman, ADA Coordinator, at

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