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David Blu

Former Israeli Basketball Player

Travels from Los Angeles

Availability: Contact JNF Speakers Bureau for availability or contact the speaker directly.


Academic Perspectives on Israel and Jewish History, Positively Israel


David retired last June after spending 11 out of the last 12 years playing professional basketball overseas. During his last season with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team won the coveted “Triple Crown” including the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, the Israeli mid-season cup and league championship. In between practices and games, he focused on expanding his sphere of influence in the different realms of business including real estate, insurance and banking.

In 2012 David took a hiatus to return to USC to complete his undergraduate education. In May of 2013 he graduated with a bachelor of arts in Sociology and then in September of that year returned to Israel to play his final professional basketball season with eventual champion Maccabi Tel Aviv.

In the summer of 2010 and 2011 David represented the Israeli National Basketball team in the Eurobasket Tournament, the prequalification games for the 2012 Olympics.
David attended USC from 1998-2002 where he played basketball for former coach Henry Bibby. In 2001 during his junior year, the Trojans advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament, which was the first time since 1954 that USC reach that level of March Madness. After his freshman year in college he helped Team USA win the gold medal in the 1999 Maccabiah Pan Am Games in Mexico City.

David attended Venice and Westchester High Schools in Los Angeles. During his senior season, 1998 Westchester won the California state championship and David was awarded the John Wooden. The summer prior to his high school senior season, he had the opportunity to be a part of Team USA in the 1997 Maccabiah summer world games in Israel. He also led team Los Angeles to the gold in the 1996 JCC Maccabiah junior games that took place in Metrowest, New Jersey.

David has deep roots with both the University of Southern California and Jewish life in Los Angeles. He was born to William Ralph Bluthenthal, an African American with Jewish genealogy and Suzanne Elizabeth (Leshin) Bluthenthal. Suzanne is a direct descendant of Herman Hellman, a banker and early Jewish settler to California. Along with his brother Isaias, they founded the Farmers & Merchants bank and the Temple B’Nai B’rith (now the Wilshire Boulevard Temple). Isaias is well known as one of the founding fathers of the University of Southern California. David’s great grandfather is Irving Hellman was also a Los Angeles businessman and served as the second president of the Hillcrest Country Club on Olympic Blvd from 1927-1932.

David is now serving as a member of the USC Hillel Board of Directors and involved with other Jewish and Israeli organizations around the world. He lives with his wife and children in Southern California.

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