Unlike most kids these days, Harold Perl did not play basketball in elementary school. It was therefore not surprising that he was cut in the first round when he tried out for the JV basketball team at YUHS-MTA in his freshman year, in the mid to late 1960s. Fortunately his coaches were willing to give him a second look and recognizing his athletic ability, gave him the last spot on the team. They worked with him after practice, teaching him basketball fundamentals, and by mid-season he was the starting point guard.
In his sophomore year, Perl was named captain, and led the MTA Junior Varsity to its first ever undefeated season. In the postseason, he led his team to the JV championship, being named to the All-Star team and tournament MVP.
In his junior year, Perl was the starting point guard on one of the best teams ever fielded at MTA. That team was undefeated in league play and went on to win the championship in Madison Square Garden.
As the only returning starter, Perl was handed the baton and named captain, along with the challenge to prove that this team could continue to dominate the yeshiva league. The season opened with MTA, the defending champions, playing JEC in Madison Square Garden. MTA won handily, and Perl had his most prolific game, scoring 30 points and breaking the yeshiva-MSG scoring record of 27 points previously held by Norman Palefsky and Stuart Poloner. By mid-season, the team was 8-0 and he was a starter in the All-Star game. He led Manhattan-New Jersey to a win over the Queens-Brooklyn All-Stars and was named MVP. At mid-season, MTA was invited to play in the Cathedral Prep Basketball Tournament. MTA won the championship with Perl being named to the All-Star team and tournament MVP. His performance and exposure during this tournament led to his being named as an “Honorable Mention” in the Daily News All-City High School All-Star Team. MTA went on to complete another undefeated season, Perl’s third, and entered the playoffs pursuing another championship. Unfortunately MTA lost in the finals in double overtime, but Perl was named tournament MVP despite the loss.
Perl led the team in scoring and assists, and as the point guard took pride in noting that four of the five starters averaged in double digits. In addition to the athletic awards mentioned, at graduation he received the award for Excellence in Talmudic Studies.
Perl was offered a scholarship to play for NYU but continued his education at Yeshiva College where he started on the varsity basketball team in his freshman year and was captain in his senior year. Perl graduated summa cum laude, and received an award for Excellence in Talmudic Studies. He went on to receive his MD degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and specializes in neonatology. Dr. Perl was the Director of Neonatology at Hackensack University Medical Center for over 20 years and is presently a senior attending.
Perl and his wife Esther (who attended every MTA home game while they were dating in High School) have four children (three are boys who all played for Frisch) and 17 grandchildren.
Over the years YABA has contributed to many worthwhile tzedakas: Chai Lifeline, Friends of the IDF, Israel Center for the Disabled—Ramat Gan, Israel, Magen David Adom, and has built the Mitch Merlis basketball court at Yeshivat Kfar Zeitim in Tiberius, Israel. The court is named after a former player who passed away at a very young age but made an impact on all that knew him. Merlis’s daughter Temmi, will say a few words at this year’s dinner. Proceeds from this years Dinner will go to: Israel Sports Center for the Disabled, United Hatzalah, Ezer Mzion as well as another US charity still under discussion
All are welcome to join the dinner and induct this year’s class,
Dr. Jonathan Halpert - MTA - 1962
Ray Aboff - JEC - 195
Dr. Harold Perl - MTA - 1968
Pete Kessel - JEC - 1972
Avrum Stein - HILI - 1973
Gary Aboff - JEC - 1974
Yudi Teichman - MTA - 1985
Daniel Bursky - Ramaz - 1986
Morris Dweck - Flatbush - 1992
The festivities will begin at 645 pm Thursday, May 18, at Congregation Keter Torah 600 Roemer Ave. Teaneck, N.J. 07666 at 645 pm. To rsvp for the dinner go to http://www.yabausa.org/ if you can’t make it on May 18th, consider a donation. All donations are tax deductible and any and all donations are greatly appreciated. Please mail checks to:
YABA—696 Harris Ave. Staten Island, N.Y. 10314