Broadcaster Maury Povich among inductees in local Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Maury Povich and his wife, Connie Chung, enjoy the Dinner of Champions. Photo by Randy Sager, courtesy of Bender JCC of Greater Washington.

Veteran broadcaster and Washington native Maury Povich can add another award to his mantel. Last month, he was one of six Jewish athletes inducted into the Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Povich, a longtime familiar face on Washington TV whose daytime talk show ran nationally for 31 years, was cited for his golf skills. He won the Woodmont Country Club championship five times and was a regular on the celebrity golf circuit.

The athletes were inducted at the 30th annual Dinner of Champions, hosted by the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington on Nov. 19. About 500 people attended.

Also honored was Eric Brodkowitz, a standout baseball player for Winston Churchill High School, Yale University and the Israeli national baseball team; Chris Eig, a wrestler for New York University; Loretta Kiron, a trailblazer on the tennis court; Phyllis Lerner, an advocate for Title IX programs; Doug Neustadt, a sports rep who has worked with former Maccabi Tel Aviv players and top-10 NBA picks.

Robert “Bobby” Cohen, founder of the JCC Sports Hall of Fame and a Syracuse University baseball player, received the Irene and Abe Pollin Humanitarian Award.

Also honored was Barry Gudelsky with the Bender JCC Maccabi Legacy Award. An inspiration for youth sports, Gudelsky established the Maccabi USA Masters Soccer Scholarship Fund, and has served as a coach, chair and player in the World, Pan-American, European and Australian Maccabi Games.

A half-million dollars was raised at a fundraising dinner to support inclusion for children with disabilities at the Bender JCC’s Lessans Camp JCC.

“It’s not just the campers that we are helping,” said dinner co-chair Roz Black. “We are nurturing a whole generation of people who are going to be kinder, more compassionate people because they’re learning that everybody is different, but everybody is the same.”Six outstanding high school athletes also received the Hyman M. and Phillip D. Perlo High School Athlete Award.

Twenty percent of Lessans Camp JCC campers have special needs that require lift operated buses, medical staff and individual counselors to help them with swimming basics, social skills and health challenges, said Rachel Ossman, chief development officer for Bender JCC. The camp provides them at no extra cost to those families, she said.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Dinner of Champions. “Thirty years ago there were a bunch of committed JCC supporters who wanted to have a gathering, have some good New York deli and honor Jewish athletes,” said Ossman. “So they decided to support the inclusion program at the camp. It’s continued basically in this tradition for 30 years.”

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