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Tobin and several other editors said that they would have run a story had they been aware of her family’s Jewish connection. Hughes identifies Christmas as her favorite holiday; ABC ran a segment on her in January, that showed the Hughes family in front of the Christmas tree, according to Alina Sivorinovsky, author of Sarah Hughes: Skating to the Stars (Berkley Publishing Group, 2001). Sivorinovsky added, family members have said that the figure skater’s two older brothers celebrated their Bar Mitzvah.“Her mother and grandparents talk proudly of it,” Ms.But odds are you didn’t read about it in your local Jewish paper.Three newspapers based in the metropolitan New York area–the Forward, the New York Jewish Week and the Long Island Jewish World–all missed the story.It’s not as if there were a lack of clues: Her name is Sarah; she comes from Great Neck, N. Still, for the most part, the Jewish media were asleep at the Zamboni wheel during the 2002 Winter Olympics, when Sarah Hughes became the first member of the tribe to capture the gold medal in figure skating.That’s right, 16-year-old Sarah Hughes has a Jewish mother, Amy Hughes née Pasternack, and reportedly grew up in a house with some attachment to Judaism.“But sports is one sector where the presence of prominent Jews is anomalous.” As a result, Mr.Tobin said, Jews and Jewish reporters will still stretch to tag a big-time athlete as Jewish, more so than when it comes to someone in the world of entertainment. Hughes, who is the fourth of six children and has a non-Jewish father, Mr.
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Sivorinovsky said, referring to the family’s Jewishness.
“It’s not a secret as it is for some of the Russian skaters.” A call to the Hughes house was not returned.
Hostein said, noting the case of Russian figure skater and silver medalist Irina Slutskaya, whose father’s family is believed to be Jewish. Hostein said that her staff received assurances from Jewish communal leaders and government officials in Russia that Ms. So the wire service included her on a list of Jewish athletes sent out before the Olympics, only to see the figure skater cross herself on television at the end of each routine.
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and the Forward featured pre-Olympic stories on Sasha Cohen, the southern California resident who eventually finished fourth in the women’s figure skating. Cohen reportedly never had a Bat Mitzvah, but her family belongs to a Reform congregation.
So did the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the New York-based wire service used by Jewish newspapers across the country.