By Judah Rhine
MVP, the premier Orthodox Jewish boys’ basketball camp, held at Camp Seneca Lake under the direction of Irv Bader and Judah and Carol Rhine, celebrated its ninth consecutive season of record-breaking registration and enrollment. With 5 divisions and 28 teams, over 125 games were played over the course of the five-day camp! The games were competitive and exciting, with many last-minute buzzer-beater endings.
This year’s MVP featured players from grades 4–12, with all levels of playing ability. They represented many schools throughout the tri-state area, including Yavneh, Noam, ASHAR, Barkai, TABC, Frisch, JEC, HAFTR, HALB, HANC, North Shore Hebrew Academy, YCQ, Har Torah, SAR, Ramaz, Derech HaTorah, MTA, Rambam, MAY, DRS, Kushner, Magen David Yeshivah, Manhattan Day School, Solomon Schechter of Queens, Shefa, Westchester Day School, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Hillel Yeshivah, and others. Some of the counselors/coaches were former MVP players and were able to relate their experiences from their years at MVP to this year’s players.
Upon arrival, each MVP player received a reversible MVP jersey featuring the new MVP logo. Each day at MVP had a jam-packed schedule starting with Shacharis and breakfast, and followed by a series of activities, including swim—featuring the Seneca giant slide—league games, after-lunch visits to Seneca Sprinkles ice-cream parlor, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, and 1-on-1 competitions, and much more. After dinner, all MVP players went to the shul for Minchah and Ma’ariv. Following the night games and the nightly individual skills contests for each grade (plus a movie for juniors), the late-night barbecues gave all the MVP players across all the divisions and schools the opportunity to interact with each other. Special events that took place included the annual spectacular MVP Challenge endurance competition for the seniors.
This year, the solar eclipse did not deter MVP from carrying out its activities, as all campers were kept indoors at the gym facilities for safety purposes. All campers continued to play their games and competitions. On the final day of MVP 2017, the championship games for each division were played at beautiful brand-new Seneca Center complex as well as Seneca Park, featuring stadium seating. The JV championship game was a thriller that went into double overtime. The games were followed by lunch and the annual closing awards ceremonies, where over 100 trophies were distributed to champions from the many competitions that took place during the course of the week, including the MVP awards to the MVPs of each of the leagues. Following the awards ceremony, every MVP player was excited to receive a new-for-2017 Klipped Kippah and an MVP cinch sack— they’re already looking forward to MVP 2018.
In reviewing this year’s MVP experience, as co-director, I can say this was by far our best season ever. There is something here for everyone. Every camper is truly an MVP.
This year, MVP was privileged to have Johnny Halpert, legendary head coach at Yeshiva University. Coach Halpert gave clinics to the campers and stated, “This is by far the best basketball program for Jewish basketball players.”
In addition, MVP had their resident staff, including Barry Neuberger, associate athletic director at Columbia University, Andy Weitzen, head coach of Ramaz Middle School Varsity, as well as others, who gave multiple clinics to all the MVP players.
MVP has already started planning for MVP 2018, our 10th season, which promises to be bigger and better! Once again, this past season registration was sold out, which resulted in a waiting list. Please make sure to register early so you don’t get closed out. For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Camp HASC
By Elliot Weiselberg
The inaugural Camp HASC Hockey Classic was held on Sunday, September 10, in Teaneck, NJ. The first official tournament of its kind for alumni of the Yeshiva Hockey League, teams of former hockey players from 12 high schools joined together for a day of friendly competition to benefit the special children and adults of Camp HASC.
Through the efforts of over 180 participants, close to $100,000 was raised for Camp HASC, the Jewish community’s premier summer program for children and adults with special needs and intellectual and physical disabilities.
All 12 teams participated in round-robin play. The games were hosted concurrently at TABC, Maayanot, and Yeshivat Noam. Personalized Camp HASC hockey jerseys with each high school’s colors and logo added to the competitive atmosphere and stoked the passions of school pride and old rivalries.
All-star hockey players and alumni from Frisch, HAFTR, DRS, SAR, TABC, Kushner, MTA, Flatbush, Magen David, Ramaz, HANC, and Rambam spent the day on the courts, reliving the glory days of yeshiva hockey excitement, all while raising funds and awareness for Camp HASC. Throughout the day, children, families, and guests enjoyed a fun-filled carnival, games, balloon crafts, and bounce houses and slides courtesy of CareOne.
Frisch, TABC, DRS, and MTA advanced to semifinals with both games resulting in identical 1–0 victories, setting up a familiar sight over recent years for yeshiva league hockey fans—a showdown between DRS and TABC. In the last 10 years, the two schools have met three times for the MYHSAL Varsity Hockey Championship. The game was scoreless until late in the second period when DRS defenseman Daniel Litton (DRS ’06) notched the first and only goal. Top goalie and tournament MVP Sam Schertz (DRS ’08) shut TABC out the rest of the way, capping off a day where DRS did not yield a single goal in their five games played on their way to the Tier I Championship.
In Tier II, Rambam topped HANC 4–0 for the championship behind two goals from Hillel Gross (’09) and Jacob Nussbaum (’14), with the shutout by Josh Friedman (’12).
Individual players were recognized with awards, including top defenseman, Daniel Litton (DRS ’06), as well as four all-tournament team trophies awarded to Solly Silverman (Frisch ’09), Gavriel Blum (DRS ’09), Donny Fuchs (TABC ’12), and Moshe Jaroslawicz (MTA ’10).
Special thanks to the event sponsors: CareOne at Teaneck, Crown Trophy of Brooklyn, Kosher Guru, Mathnasium, and Leeding Builders Group. Lunch was catered by EJ’s Place in Teaneck and the barbecue dinner was sponsored by Dougie’s.
For the hundreds of players, family members, and friends who shared in the first annual HASC Hockey Classic, it was a meaningful day of camaraderie, teamwork, and great sports—all for an amazing cause. Looking forward to next year!
Donations can still be made at hockey.camphasc.org.
Judah Rhine, who has been coaching youth basketball for more than 35 years, is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and MVP Girls Basketball Camp and co‑commissioner of the National Council of Young Israel basketball league. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.