Yale Alums Block, Greenberg Selected to Play for Israel at World Cup

Jenna Block and Sara Greenberg. (photos by Larry Palumbo)

Tournament Takes Place in Oshawa, Ont., July 11-20

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Two former Yale women's lacrosse players -- attacker Jenna Block '10 and midfielder Sara Greenberg '09 -- have been named to Israel's roster for the upcoming Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's Lacrosse World Cup. The World Cup, which features 19 teams, will be held at the Oshawa Civic Recreation Centre near Toronto, Canada, from July 11-20.

The Women's Lacrosse World Cup dates back to 1982 and is held every four years. The United States has won the championship six times, including the last championship (2009). Australia (two) is the only other country to have won.

This will be Israel's first World Cup appearance. The team's roster is composed of Israeli players as well as members of the Jewish diaspora, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the FIL. The roster was selected after a series of tryouts at HaYarkon Sportek in Tel Aviv and the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., as well as an extensive interview process.

Block and Greenberg were also a part of Israel's debut at the European Lacrosse Championship Festival in Amsterdam last summer. They wound up helping Israel win the festival championship. After the tournament concluded at the end of June, members of both the men's and women's national teams went back to Israel to help conduct a series of free skills clinics for children.

Block received her Master's degree in Public Health from Columbia last May and is now working as a healthcare consultant with The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C.

"I am incredibly honored to be selected to represent Israel in the World Cup, and I look forward to sharing this opportunity with many friends and teammates," said Block. "I love that different teammates from my past will be playing with me as well, including Sara, as well as Kim Dubansky, a former high school teammate from McDonogh."

Greenberg was in Israel for an internship at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs last year when Block contacted her about joining the Israeli team. Greenberg is now in graduate school at Harvard, pursuing a Master's in Business Administration and a Master's in Public Policy.

"After World War II, my grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, volunteered in a displaced persons camp in Germany, helping Jewish refugees get visas to go to Eretz Yisrael (what was then British-controlled Palestine)," said Greenberg. "While he was able to secure a visa for himself, only one of his brothers (out of six siblings) survived the war and he did not get a visa. My grandfather therefore decided to accompany his one surviving family member to the United States instead of traveling to Israel, a place that he had dreamed of growing up, and throughout his time in numerous concentration camps. While my grandfather spent his adult life in the US, he never ceased to tell me about his dream to live in, contribute to and represent the Jewish State. Now, I am getting the opportunity to live in, contribute to and represent the Jewish State. It is such an honor."

The Israeli team will train in Ashkelon, Israel, July 1-7 before flying to Toronto on July 8. The 19 teams at the World Cup are divided up into four pools. As part of "Pool D", Israel has three games against the other teams in the pool: No. 10 Germany on July 11, No. 8 Scotland on July 12 and No. 16 South Korea on July 14. Two wins will guarantee Israel an appearance in the 12-team playoff. "Crossover" matches against Hong Kong on July 15 and No. 7 Japan on July 16 will determine seeding and serve as tiebreakers if necessary. The World Cup playoffs begin on July 17 with a championship bracket and a consolation bracket. The gold medal game is July 20 at 3:00 p.m.

In conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program, each Israeli player will be competing in honor of a charity of her choosing. A portion of the national team's general fundraising efforts has been committed to each charity. Block is playing for Shanti House, an organization that serves and supports at-risk youth who are victims of physician violence, sexual abuse, crime and prostitution. Greenberg is playing for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), an organization established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors to provide for the wellbeing of the men and women who serve in the IDF as well as the families of fallen soldiers. 

The game of lacrosse is new to Israel, as Israel Lacrosse was started in 2010 and officially recognized as an associate member of the Federation of International Lacrosse in 2011. That enables Israeli teams to participate in FIL competitions, including the Women's World Cup, the Men's World Championship, Under-19 team events and more.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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