Editor Ashley Browne answers: Why 'People of the Boot'?
That started in the early 1990s when I was working for the Australian Jewish News as a freelance journalist.
Either Sam Lipski, who was the managing editor or his deputy Karen Klein, I can’t remember who, asked me to write a state of the nation piece about who were the big Australian Jews in the sports world at the time.
I went away and wrote it and when the story came out, the headline was ‘People of the Boot’, which crafty Sam had fashioned from the better-known description of Jews as ‘People of the Boot’.
I revisited the story a few times thereafter for the AJN and used that headline every time, so it has stuck and was always going to be the name of any book I was planning to write on the subject.
At first the book was going to be about Jews in footy. And a few years back, I had already written most of the first chapter.
But then Dashiel Lawrence called and the vision changed.
He had been thinking about a book on Jews in Sport. His idea was something a bit more academic, in keeping with some of his earlier work, but after a few coffees we reached agreement and shook hands.
It would be far-reaching and certainly well beyond my scope of Jews in AFL footy. But we toned down the hard-core academic focus and instead went for something with a bit more commercial appeal - for readers 8 to 80, your ideal bar and bat mitzvah present, or father’s day gift.
The end result? Fascinating stories about prominent Jews in Australian sport, each well told by a talented bunch of writers, journalists and broadcasters.