New Jersey Jewish News
Third group of athletes to enter JCC MetroWest Sports Hall of Fame
Rayni Fox-Borinsky, Justin Gimelstob, Maxie Fisher, Morris Al Fisher, Burt Geltzeiler, Barry Halper, and Lou Halper have been selected for induction into the JCC MetroWest Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2006.
Boxing brothers Maxie and Morris Fisher, Barry Halper, and Lou Halper (no relation) will be inducted posthumously.
The group will be honored at a dinner and induction ceremony on Tuesday, May 30, at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston.
For the first time, the hall will honor two high school student athletes for their achievements in sports, academics, and community involvement. Scott Shapiro, a senior at the Morris County Academy of Math, Science, & Engineering, and Alison Gomer, a senior at Morris Hills High School, will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.
According to the qualification process, candidates must be either a native or current resident of the MetroWest community and must be an outstanding amateur or professional athlete or coach or have contributed significantly to the world of sports through a related field or profession.
As an organization at the center of the Jewish community here in MetroWest for 129 years, the JCC wants to pay tribute to members of our community who have excelled in the world of sports or related areas over the course of their lives, said Arnold Budin and Roy Greenman, cochairs of the selection committee. We are proud to be able to award these individuals this years honor and to celebrate their historic legacy.
Rayni Fox-Borinsky was introduced to tennis as a nine-year-old living in North Miami Beach, Fla. She was ranked in the top 10 in Florida and the top 15 in the United States all eight of her junior years and was the first female to receive an athletic scholarship to Rollins College, where she played singles and doubles before turning professional in 1975, at one point ranking 41st in the world. Fox-Borinsky and her son, Ari, have won two national parent-child platform tennis championships. She continues to contribute to tennis, entering her sixth year as a coach for JCC MetroWests Maccabi Games team, coaching at Newark Academy in Livingston, and teaching privately at several area clubs.
Justin Gimelstob took to the tennis courts at age eight. By age 12, he was the top-ranked boy in his age group, maintaining the number one spot at age 14, 16, and 18. The Livingston native was selected by The Star-Ledger as one of the top 10 tennis players in the state. Gimelstob accepted a scholarship at UCLA and turned pro in 1996 after his freshman year. He won 10 singles and 15 doubles titles as a professional and has twice been appointed a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team.
At the 2005 U.S. Open, Gimelstob wrote a daily column for SportsIllustrated.com and continued on a biweekly basis during the rest of season. He hosted Open Access and provided commentary for the Tennis Channel while rehabilitating a broken foot in 2004. Gimelstob was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Hall of Fame in 2003 and into Newark Academys Hall of Fame last year.
Maxie Fisher, a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, was a lightweight in the 1930s who fought professionally out of Newark and was known for wearing a star of David on his trunks. His professional record was an impressive 58 wins, 22 losses, and three draws. Maxie and his brother Morris Al, who joins him as an inductee, are considered by boxing historian Nat Bodian to be among the 10 best Jewish fighters.
Morris Fisher, Maxies older brother, became Al when a promoter recognized his talent early on but strongly advised him to change his name. He was also dubbed the Hard-Hitting Heeb by sports pundits of the era. According to Mario J. Centi, a member of the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, from the early 1920s to the early 1930s, Al had 100 professional fights and was victorious in 98 percent of them, including the New Jersey State Lightweight Championship.
Burton Burt Geltzeiler was told he was too small to make his high school basketball team, but he became known as the best pivot man of his time among NJ collegians while a student at Newark University and Rutgers Newark from 1945 to 50. He was the first player in Rutgers Newark history to score 1,000 points, finishing his career with 1,222, and averaged 21 points per game as a senior in an era when college scores were much lower than they are today.
Upon graduation, Geltzeiler was drafted by the Tri-City Hawks (today, the NBAs Atlanta Hawks). But he was also drafted by the U.S. Army; he led his Fort Eustis team to the Second Army Championship from 1950 to 52 and a second-place finish in the worldwide tournament in 1952.
Barry Halper fell in love with baseball as a kid. The passion stayed with him through his years at the University of Miami, where he pitched for the team, and all his adult life. He assembled of one of the worlds largest private collections of baseball memorabilia, at one time owning at least 80,000 items. A portion of his collection is on display in the Barry Halper Gallery at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In 1979, he achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a limited partner in the New York Yankees. One of his many thrills was to ride on a World Championship float after the Yankees won a World Series title.
Halper was also involved in many community activities. He served on the board of the Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Hospital, was a board member of the Baseball Assistance Team, and was honored by Bnai Brith as the Sportsman of the Year in 1986. Halper passed away in December 2005 at the age of 66.
Lou Halper, born in 1909, was another Newark-bred Jewish boxer who bore the star of David on his attire. He worked his way up to the top of his class as a welterweight during his 10-year pro career. On Jan. 27, 1936, Halper fought world champion Barney Ross in a non-title bout and lost on a technical knockout.
With a portion of his earnings from boxing, Halper began a wholesale paper business after retiring from the ring in 1937. As he became more successful, he shared his wealth, helping many down-and-out ex-boxers either by giving them money or helping them get a job. His generosity extended to Jewish organizations as well; active for many years in the local United Jewish Appeal, Halper served as campaign chair in 1957.
Previous inductees to the JCC MetroWest Jewish Sports Hall of Fame include Morris Moe Berg, Jeff Bukantz, Alta Cohen, Harold Hesh Cohen, Sid Dorfman, Les Fein, Gerald Greenspan, Jerry Izenberg, Herbert Krautblatt Kay, Seymour Swede Masin, Charlie Schneider, and Allie Stolz.
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