The Ping Pong Project

CONTACT: Nina Sazevich at 415.752.2483 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



San Francisco, CA, March 28, 2011Ping pong – it saved the life of Polish Jewish champion Alojzy Ehrlich, when a Nazi guard at Auschwitz recognized his lanky frame and pulled him to safety. In fact, what began as an upper crust amusement in 1880’s England became a game dominated by Jewish champions after World War I when its competitive focus shifted to central and Eastern Europe. For the next few decades, it was players like Ehrlich, Austrian Richard Bergmann (who played in double-breasted suits), and Hungarian hardbats Viktor Barna and Lazlo Bellak that ruled the game.

Now, the Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates this curious footnote in sports history with The Ping Pong Project – a free temporary installation of regulation tables and equipment that allows anyone to take a shot at table tennis triumph from April 7 through May 10, 2011 during regular museum hours. Admission to the Museum is not required, but a photo ID must be left with the front desk in order to check out equipment. Groups are welcome Thursday evenings from 6:30–8 PM, but must make reservations.

The installation, inspired by the book Everything You Know is Pong by Roger Bennett and Eli Horowitz, kicks off with a special opening event on Thursday, April 14, 2011 from 7-9 PM. The evening combines an opportunity to witness ferocious competition between reigning Bay Area champs, the chance to smash your own way to glory and a multimedia history of Jewish table tennis champions presented by Bennett and Horowitz. The event is free.  Museum admission is separate – just $5, a special half off deal for a limited time only.

The Ping Pong Project is part of a six-week-long effort to encourage Bay Area residents to ‘Take an Art Break’ at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. While one of the galleries is closed from March 31 through May 10, the Museum offers visitors a chance to see two exciting, new exhibitions, enjoy a game of table tennis and more for just $5 – the price of a bagel and coffee. That's 50% off regular admission prices! Youth 18 and under are always free. On view in the galleries at this time are: Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre? and Are We There Yet? 5000 Years of Answering Questions with Questions.

WHAT: The Ping Pong Project – an interactive game installation celebrating Jewish contributions to the sport of table tennis

WHEN: April 7 – May 10, 2011

TIME: Open daily (except Wed.) 11 AM- 5 PM and Thursday, 1 PM – 8 PM (Tables are reserved for groups Thursday evenings from 6:30-8 PM)

WHERE: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street, San Francisco

ADMISSION: Special discounted admission! $5.00 adults, students and senior citizens with a valid ID through May 10. Youth 18 and under always free.


INFO: Go to or call 415.655.7800

GROUP RESERVATIONS: Email Melanie Samay at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103 | Hours: Daily 11am–5pm, Thursdays 11am–8pm, Closed Wednesdays | 415.655.7800 |