Greenberg Recognized as Top Jewish Athlete

Mark Greenberg, far right, pictured at an event for Israel Lacrosse. (Justin Katz photo)

Owings Mills resident and legendary lacrosse player Mark Greenberg is set to join the Jewish Sports Heritage Association (JSHA) 2019 induction class.

The JSHA is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 dedicated to educating the public about the role Jewish men and women have played and continue to play in the world of sports.
Greenberg began playing lacrosse in second grade with his cousins, whose mudroom was filled with lacrosse equipment.

“On my visits to their home, I would put on the equipment and play around,” Greenberg said.
He started playing with a team two years later.

Greenberg was a member of the Johns Hopkins National Championship teams of 1978-80, receiving the Lt. Raymond Enners Award, which goes to the NCAA’s top male lacrosse player, in 1979. He was also a part of the NCAA’s 25th anniversary team in 1996.

“He’s considered one of the greatest defenders of the sport in the history of the game,” said Alan Freedman, director of JSHA.

But Greenberg’s biggest achievement is his lacrosse work in Israel. In 2011, Greenberg was joined by two other athletes to bring lacrosse over to Israel. Two years prior, there was an attempt to bring baseball to Israel with no luck. But Greenberg and his partners started out by teaching young kids rather than adults. Now the Israeli lacrosse team is a favorite in the lacrosse world, and the 2018 World Lacrosse Championship is set to take place in Israel from July 12-21 with 46 teams, its biggest showing to date.

Inductees for JSHA are chosen according to three criteria: they must consider themselves Jewish, play well in their sport and have spoken with someone at JSHA prior to the official induction announcement. Induction classes typically consist of five to eight people and feature high school and college athletes as well as pros.
JSHA inductees assist in teaching clinics or programs at JSHA when in New York.

“When athletes get inducted, they have a sense of belonging with us,” said Freedman. “They become part of an extended family.”

Greenberg expressed gratitude at being given such an honor.

“It always feels good to be remembered and to be chosen as a top Jewish Athlete,” Greenberg said. “The purpose of the award is to show Jewish youth that your faith and your religion does not define you but it can drive you to greatness. It is about having the confidence in yourself and your abilities to reach for the top and give it your best effort in a respectful manner.”

Greenberg plans to attend the induction ceremony with his family, friends and teammates on April 28, 2019 at Temple Israel of Lawrence in New York.

Shoshana Goloskov is an intern at the Baltimore Jewish Times.

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