TIB Newsletters

The Israel Bridge Newsletter, January 2012

Dan Aronovic - Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Israeli Finds Peace, In and Out of Pool 


Gil Sheleg Named To CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-               District Team

San Marcos, Texas - Texas State track and field student-athlete Gil Sheleg was named  to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Capital One Academic All-District Second Teams, voted on by collegiate sports information directors from institutions in the southern United States.

Six athletes from the Southland Conference were recognized for their performances on the field and in the classroom with Texas State being the only school to have both a men's and women's athlete represented.

Gil Sheleg, an electrical engineering sophomore from Pardessia, Israel, has been flawless in the classroom at Texas State with a 4.0 GPA. Sheleg has earned the Oak Farms Dairy Cream of the Crop award for a perfect 4.0 GPA in a semester as well as being named to the SLC Commissioner's Honor Roll. On the track, Sheleg ran on the Bobcats' distance medley and 4x400-meter relay teams during the indoor season while also running a season-best 57.76 in the 400-meter hurdles.

Sheleg was one of just two male athletes from the SLC named to the academic all-district teams and 

 was one of 45 athletes named to the academic first and second teams in district six, comprised of Division I institutions from the states of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  



Who We Are:

Ross Greenstein, Scholarship for Athletes President and Founder of The Israel Bridge

Dan Aronovic, Head of Operations, The Israel Bridge

Our Vision:
The Israel Bridge will work to be the largest resource for connecting and developing relationships between Israelis and Americans.

Current activities:
Finding athletic scholarships for deserving Israeli athletes in the US and assisting them while they live in the US. We have placed over 70 athletes in the US attending schools like Ohio State, UCLA, Buffalo, UNLV, Arizona, Duke, Tulane, Rutgers, the University of San Francisco and many others.

Visit our website for more info:




Jan. 7, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - Idan Mark, a junior on the Tulane men's tennis team, has been tabbed as the 76th-ranked singles player in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Division I Men's Singles Rankings, it was announced Friday.

Mark, who was ranked 50th during the Fall season and as high as 89th last spring, posted a 7-5 singles record during this past Fall and was 19-11 overall last season.

The Green Wave posted an 11-11 overall record last Spring in dual matches in the program's second year back.


                                 Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or

By Patrick Finley/Arizona Daily Star

University of Arizona's Nimrod Shapira-Bar Or found out he was going to swim in the Beijing Olympics just five days before his first race in 2008. He finished 15th in the 200-meter freestyle and set a personal best in the 100.  He has already qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or isn't political, but he has a story to tell.

For two years at The Bolles School, a prep palace in Jacksonville, Fla., Shapira Bar-Or, who is Jewish, lived with a man who would become his best friend.

Jowan Qupty is a Palestinian from Jerusalem. The two were acquaintances as kids, but didn't grow close until they shared an apartment together.

Qupty, who swims at Missouri, said that, back home, "people were amazed all the time" that a Jew and Palestinian could coexist.   That's a statement in itself.

"It's all a group of leaders," Shapira Bar-Or said. "And it's making both sides stress.

"It shows how simple the situation is. If I can live with a Palestinian guy, I'm sure in our country we can live with a couple millions of Palestinians and Israelis together."

Qupty said politics didn't come up much in the house - "so, just in case, it wouldn't ruin our relationship."

You don't come to this spot in the Sports section - or talk to a UA swimmer - for geopolitical analysis. But, even in a small apartment in North Florida, a little peace is a great thing.

"It showed how simple the case was," Shapira Bar-Or said. "That two people can live together. All the war, all the money spent, for nothing."

Shapira Bar-Or has an interesting philosophy that he could possibly pass on to to the people of the Middle East.

"It's kind of a secret," said the man whose first name recalls a biblical hunter. "It's a really, really simple thing. Don't stress about it."

If the 22-year-old senior sounds like the author of "Zen and the Art of Freestyle Swimming," it's because he learned the lesson in the most amazing way possible.

He knew at 12 he wanted to swim competitively, and that Israel's youth programs were no longer the way to improve. With a passport - his mom is British - Shapira Bar-Or moved to Bath, England, where he took an apartment on campus and attended high school.

He trained twice a day alongside record-holders and even lived by himself, cooking his own meals, just to swim faster. At 16, he moved home to Israel and quit school just to train.

Despite the training, he missed the cut for the 2008 Olympics - but then Israeli freestyler Max Javen tested positive for drugs.

Shapira Bar-Or was on vacation with his family, having not swam for eight days, when he was offered a spot on the team. His first race was five days away.

After a life of training, it would have been easy to stress out. He didn't. He worked in the pool, but not to exhaustion. He flew to China three days before the first race. He smiled a lot.

Then he finished 15th in the 200-meter freestyle and set a personal best in the 100.

"It taught me a lot, how swimming is in your head," he said. "You don't have to think about anything other than jumping in and having fun.

"Your body's like a machine. We train for six hours a day. Your body knows what to do. It's only the brain that can be like, 'Don't do it.'"

The result was astounding.  No stress, no anger. Just peace.

"I had the best race of my life," he said. "I hope I'm going to have better races in the future."  Shapira Bar-On, a 10 time NCAA All-American, will be graduating from Arizona in June and then will be off to London for his second shot at the Olympics.



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