April 14, 2024
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Chevra Lacrosse Sees Success Afield

Despite lacrosse being the fastest-growing sport nationally, according to U.S. Lacrosse, it’s a sport that previously had no traction in the Jewish world. But that is soon changing, as grassroots efforts are building locally thanks to the pioneering efforts of Passaic’s Marc Goldfarb. In the five years since the launch of his successful program, Chevra Lacrosse, he is seeing great success and has high hopes for the sport to expand even more. What started with four kids in second grade on Sunday mornings, has now grown into a full, youth lacrosse program that has impacted hundreds of kids.

Goldfarb played lacrosse as a kid and wanted to make an impact in his community. He had also been attending a shiur called Chovos Halevavos which motivated him to give back to others and make a difference. “I realized boys attending yeshiva needed a real lacrosse program, and that’s what triggered me to bring lacrosse awareness to the forefront,” he said. “CL 18 Chevra Youth Lacrosse has really been a catalyst for all types of boys to meet each other with lacrosse.” The program is for boys aged seven through 13. It brings lacrosse to them and teaches the basic skills of throwing, catching, scooping, dodging and facing off.

Focusing on youth progression is coach Elan Daisudov, director of player development, a 2013 Fairlawn High School graduate who played midfielder for Israel’s national team. The boys come from a wide range of towns, including the Teaneck, Bergenfield, Paramus, Englewood and Passaic/Clifton Jewish communities. Goldfarb was inspired to make a difference by watching Jake Steinfeld’s World Series of Youth Lacrosse and by the milestone developments of the Israel lacrosse movement, which is hosting the World Lacrosse Games this July.

“The goal is to create a full shomer Shabbat lacrosse program with players of all ages,” Goldfarb said. This would create a feeder system for the upper age groups and allows competitive teams to be formed at a higher level. At the moment, there are clinics throughout the year coupled with scrimmages against other lacrosse programs, such as Montclair Youth Lacrosse, Mahwah Youth Lacrosse and Rutherford Youth Lacrosse. Goldfarb notes that these organizations have been very kind and generous in accommodating playing on Sundays, and not on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Aside from having Sunday clinics throughout the year, Chevra hosts lacrosse clinics over the summer at various day camps in the area, including Shoresh Day Camp in Teaneck, and ran a clinic at YNJ in Westfield this past spring.

Why is lacrosse the sport of the future? There are a few components. Goldfarb notes that the skills required to play are a combination of key skills from other sports. This includes the agility of soccer, the ball handling of basketball and the shooting of hockey. Also, he adds, lacrosse is a unique type of sport that unites the boys, based on its heavy emphasis on teamwork. While it is a tough sport to learn and train, because of all the running and strength needed, he said that he is “very fortunate to attract the right students with very athletic skills who can pick up the sport.” Dr. Mechy Neinman, a parent of a participant, adds, “Lacrosse is a great sport because in the religious community, all of the boys started together and developed a closeness with each other.” Dov Glickman, another parent of a participant, adds, “The really unique thing about lacrosse is the camaraderie within the lacrosse community. There is a great deal of dedication to attracting new players and helping them to succeed in the sport.”

Aside from the Chevra program, Goldfarb and Daisudov created the Frisch lacrosse club. Right now, it is just an intramural sport, since it is the first team of its kind. “The Frisch program was a great milestone development in the spread of lacrosse,” Goldfarb said. He also noted that while is is a little harder for high school students to pick up the skills once they reach high school, he has received a great group of students that are up for the challenge. These boys value the mentorship of Daisudov and his dedication in the development of the club. The club also appreciates the vision of Athletic Director A.C. Coren as the club continues to grow. When asked what he hoped the future holds for lacrosse, Goldfarb said it is “One of my dreams in the next five years is to have it grow into MYHSAL mainstream sport.”

Chevra Youth Lacrosse focuses on strong middot, in addition to athletic skills.“There is a heavy emphasis on good sportsmanship and those lessons are clearly working,” Glickman notes. “The older players look out for the younger ones, providing assistance with gear off the field and tips or words of encouragement on the field.” Dr. Neinman adds, “His program teaches leadership, comradery and has helped my son…develop into the mature adult we knew he could be.”

Find out more about Chevra Lacrosse and its appeal and popularity at chevralacrosse.com.

By Zach Marcus


Zach Marcus is a rising senior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School and a Jewish Link summer intern.

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