Top 10 Jewish Athletes
Shalom Life compiles a list of the top active Jewish athletes
With each passing year, more and more Jewish athletes are making the big leagues.
With star athletes in each of the North American "Big Four" leagues and beyond, Jews appear to be earning more roster spots than ever before, with dozens still toiling in the minor leagues as well.
Enjoy as Shalom Life presents its list of the the Top 10 Jewish Athletes.
#10: Eric Nystrom
Nystrom, 29, is an NHL forward for the Dallas Stars. Prior to his professional career, Nystrom played four seasons for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 2001 to 2005 graduating with an arts degree. In 2002, Nystrom was drafted 10thoverall by the Calgary Flames, becoming a full-time player and a fan favourite with the team by 2008. The 6-foot-1 forward is known for his gritty, two-way hockey sense, as he told Shalom Life in an exclusive interview last year. After scoring 11 goals and 19 assists with the Flames in 2009-10, Nystrom signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Wild. He put up a disappointing 12 points in his first year with the team and was waived prior to the 2011-12 season. Nystrom was traded to the Stars, where he picked up a career-high 16 goals and 21 points in 74 games this past year. In 360 career regular season games, Nystrom has scored 39 goals, 33 assists and 72 points.
#9: Shahar Pe’er
Pe’er, the top Israeli tennis player is currently ranked no. 50 in the world. Pe'er has won five WTA singles titles, and three WTA doubles titles. In 2009, Prior to her professional tennis career, Pe’er served in the IDF. Pe’er was not allowed to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) denied her a visa. The move was heavily criticized within the tennis community, as players such as Venus Williams condemned the decision and 2008 men’s champion Andy Roddick sat out in solidarity. The 25-year-old achieved a career-high world singles ranking of no. 11 on January 31, 2011, setting a record for the highest ranking ever for an Israeli singles tennis player, male or female. She has since struggled over the past year and has gone 12 tournaments without progressing past the second round. Pe’er will represent Israel at this year’s summer Olympics in London, set to open next week. It will be her second Olympic appearance.
#8: Yossi Benayoun
Benayoun is an attacking midfielder for Chelsea F.C. in the English Premier League. The 32-year-old Israeli spent all of last season on-loan to Arsenal, with whom he helped secure third place in the league. After a four-year stint with Israeli club Maccabi Haifa and later two years with West Ham United, Benayoun went to Liverpool in 2007. After three years with the club, he signed a three-year with Chelsea in July 2010 but was loaned to Arsenal after just one year. Benayoun captained Arsenal in their 1–0 League Cup loss to Manchester City. Now back with Chelsea, but rumours have swirled that he could return to West Ham or Maccabi Haifa via a loan. Internationally, Benayoun is the captain of the Israeli national team.