June 19, 2008
Livingston native Bruce Beck, the award-winning sportscaster for WNBC-TV, is among five inductees to the 2008 class of the MetroWest Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Others to be inducted are Aaron Chernus; David Klurman and his daughter, Danielle Klurman Hall; and William “Doc” Pollak; the ceremonies will be held at a dinner at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston on Wednesday, June 25. Sports broadcaster and Essex Fells resident Ian Eagle will serve as the master of ceremonies.
“This is a great honor; this is being honored on your home turf,” said Beck in a telephone interview.
The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday sports anchor and weekday reporter grew up a short distance from the Crystal Plaza. “When I think about family and growing up in the MetroWest area, it’s wonderful to be recognized by those people who are important to you and whom you’ve had so much respect for over the years.”
He claimed his qualifications are not quite on a par with some of the other local legends with whom he will share the spotlight. “I saw what it takes to [be considered], and I don’t think it’s my jump shot from 20 feet or my cross-court forehand. I think it’s for some of the things I’ve accomplished as a professional and my understanding of giving back to the community, which is very important to me…. I learned all that from my folks.”
Beck’s mother, Doris, served as mayor of Livingston from 1975 to 1981, the first female mayor of any Essex County municipality. His older brother, Jeffrey, gave up a career in law and is now a licensed professional counselor working for the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.
The Beck household — which included father Felix, who is a chair emeritus of home lending at JP Morgan Chase, and younger brother, Steve, who works as director in the global markets division of Deutsche Bank at Deutsche Bank Securities — was imbued with the spirit of doing good.
“My parents taught me that it’s nice to receive, it’s better to give, and giving back is best of all,” Beck said in a previous interview with NJ Jewish News. “We learned at a very young age that it was important to think about your community. They set the tone. They were strong proponents of giving back, and I think I caught the bug.”
Beck and his wife Janet have passed on this philosophy to their own kids: Jonathan, who recently graduated from Boston University, and Michael, who was graduated from Scarsdale High School in New York and begins studies at the University of Michigan this month.
In addition to Beck, the Hall of Fame will induct four other local sports figures:• William “Doc” Pollak, a graduate of Newark’s Weequahic High School, where he played three years of varsity baseball and two years of varsity football. Pollak attended Upsala College in East Orange (which closed in 1995), where he played football and baseball (earning most valuable player honors for winning his first 19 games). In 1957, he spent a week with the Yankees pitching to Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Bill Skowron, and others, but chose to pursue a career as a dentist rather than a pro ballplayer. He never gave up baseball, though, and is still playing at the age of 73 for the Livingston Dodgers, defending state champion in the U.S. Over Thirty Baseball League. Pollak was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Upsala and the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame.
• David Klurman, a basketball player in the Newark City League, was selected as one of 20 outstanding players of the 1950s by The Star-Ledger in December 2000. He played on the 1955 West Side High School basketball team in Newark coached by Walter Bakum and received numerous honors at the school, including all-city, all-county, and all-state. Klurman — the father of co-inductee Danielle Klurman Hall — graduated from College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., in 1959, where he made first team All-League, first team All-Coast, and was nominated as an All-American. Currently the director of recreation for the Township of Hillside, Klurman retired as chair of the physical education and recreation department and basketball coach at Weequahic High School in 1999, after 38 years. He was inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
• Danielle Klurman Hall attended J.P. Stevens High School in Edison and played on the tennis team with a near perfect record: 100 wins and one loss. She was named New Jersey State Tennis Champion three times and received All-State recognition four times. Ranked as a junior national player, Klurman Hall won the Rolex Invitational Tournament in Port Washington, NY, and was a two-time national doubles champion in junior tennis. At age 16, she won the silver medal for tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
• Aaron Chernus has won numerous Senior Olympics gold medals in track and field, basketball, and other events. He has also won the gold in men’s singles tennis and mixed doubles with his wife, Janet.
• Shira Averbuch, a soccer player at Montclair High School, and Andrew Brown, a lacrosse player for Kinnelon High School, will receive the JCC MetroWest Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Student/Athlete Awards.
Arnold I. Budin and Roy B. Greenman serve as cochairs of the Hall of Fame. For more information, contact Adee Shepen at 973-530-3427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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