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Meet The Jewish NCAA

Students gather for the fourth National Hillel Basketball Tournament

Lily Wilf
March 28, 2014

With the NCAA basketball tournament well underway, Jewish college kids from around the country are gathering at the University of Maryland this weekend for a college basketball tournament of their own. The fourth annual National Hillel Basketball Tournament will be the largest yet, with 41 teams of more than 300 players from over 30 universities set to arrive at UMD for a weekend full of basketball.

When Boston native Rachel Klausner founded the student-run tournament in 2011, students from all over the East Coast came together on the court for a successful sporting weekend. Now, the tournament has grown into something much more than a glorified Yeshiva-league. The current tournament Chair Michael Shrager ­– who, like Klausner, played team sports at Maimonides High School – says “Basketball is a common ground that Jewish college students can use to share their love for Judaism.” With teams coming all the way from Texas, Kansas, and the Los Angeles, this year’s tournament is sure to show a diverse Jewish lineup.

Though the weekend is planned and run primarily by University of Maryland students, there are some well-known names invested in the tournament. Gatorade, Under Armour, and Aquafina are just a few of the tournament’s sponsors, and its promotional video opens with a welcome message from ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone. So, if you haven’t had your fill of March Madness brackets yet, take a stab at guessing who will walk away with the coveted Kiddush Cup this weekend.

Lily Wilf is an editorial intern at Tablet.