Lacrosse player turned attorney Howard Borkan has no agenda, just a passion.
Oceanside-born Borkan along with three other Long Islanders traveled to Israel in 2011 to share their love for the sport, introducing lacrosse on an international level.
Borkan will be inducted along with fellow Long Islanders, Roby Young and Tracie “Max” Sachs into the Jewish Sports Heritage Association at Temple Israel of Lawrence on April 29.
“He’s sort of Mr. Lacrosse on Long Island,” Alan Freedman, Director of the Jewish Sports Heritage Association said.
Four years after Borkan’s venture, the Israel Under-19 girls lacrosse team went to Scotland to play in the championships. Despite finishing last out of 14 teams, they had an experience of a lifetime. Sixteen out of 18 had never been out of their home country, while 15 of those 18 had never been on an airplane.
“They had a great experience and made friends with girls from the other 13 countries,” Borkan said. “People that never dealt with Israelis before, changed their perceptions of the people of Israel. These girls were unbelievable diplomats because they saw what was out there other than just in Israel.”
“These girls would sing together after every game and it’s so hard to put into words,” Borkan added. “It was just unbelievable the effect that they had on the girls from the other countries.”
Borkan will be receiving The Dr. Bruno Lambert Good Guy in Sports Award.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “My wife Barbara always jokes that the less they pay the more I get involved. I go into these things with no agenda, just a passion. It’s a thrill that people are recognizing the things that I’ve done.”
The Jewish Sports Heritage Association is not to be confused with the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, which “hasn’t had an induction ceremony since 2014,” Freedman said. “[The Heritage Association] is a not-for-profit education organization. The Jewish Sports Heritage Association has nothing to do with the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.”
Young also has had an effect on the sports world, not only on Long Island, but also in Israel.
During the 1968 Olympics, Young, the captain of the Israeli national soccer team led the country to a quarterfinal berth, its best finish in program history.
And on Long Island soil, Young won a North American Soccer League championship with the Cosmos in 1972.
Later in his illustrious soccer career, Young created the Queens College women’s soccer team.
Young and his family went back to Israel in 1974. Soon after, he received an offer to return to Long Island to continue teaching at Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn.
“Two years after I went, the temptation was very big and we decided to come back in 1976,” Young said.
Sachs, a now retired, five-time speed skiing World Cup champion resides in Melville. Her five consecutive wins for a female at the FIS Speed Ski World Cup is a Guinness World Record.
Sachs holds the third fastest women’s speed at 238.570 kilometers per hour (148.2 miles per hour).
“Over the years parents would ask me if I had heard of their child, and in most cases my answer was ‘I’m sorry, but I hadn’t,’ ” Freedman said. “When Ruth Sachs, Tracie’s mom, said ‘my daughter is the fastest woman in the world on skis,’ that definitely caught my attention and I immediately stopped what I was doing. It’s not every day you hear about an extremely fast Jewish woman on skis.”
The first induction ceremony will include other Jewish athletes from across the United States.