Jess Abelson


Builder : Multi-Sport
Year Inducted: 2002
Date of Birth: 1882
Born in: Cleveland, Ohio

Jess Abelson (deceased) was born in Cleveland, Ohio before moving to Ottawa with his family in 1900. He was an outstanding early Jewish sportsman. He began playing sports at the age of 12 at the YMCA. Jess captained the senior YMCA’s basketball team (Ottawa Senators) which won the city championships in 1913 and 1914.

He participated on other championship teams. In 1913, he was a member of the Canadian Champion War Canoe team and in the years 1913 and 1914 he played for the Ottawa Rough Rider football team who took the league championship.

In 1918, Jess became the first Jewish Scoutmaster of the 39th Ottawa when he formed one of the first Jewish Scout troops in Canada. Jess later became president of the Tel Aviv Tennis Club.

Jess was the first inductee into the Ottawa Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, located in the fitness area of the Soloway Jewish Community Centre, Ottawa.