Carolina Raquel Duer (b. 1978) was born in Argentina, the daughter of Syrian-Jewish immigrants. She went to a Jewish school growing up, spent time on an Israeli kibbutz, and frequented the Buenos Aires Maccabi club. When once visiting a gym with a friend, she was spotted by a boxing coach, and agreed to be trained by him. She soon became an amateur boxer, winning 19 of 20 matches, while also working as a waitress in her family’s restaurant. By 2010, Duer had become a professional boxer and won the world’s super flyweight championship. This made her the first female Jewish boxing champion. She defended the title six times before moving on to the bantamweight division in 2013 and winning that world title, too. After defending her title yet again in 2014, Duer took time off to focus on her family. She became a boxing announcer on Argentine television in the mean time. Incredibly, not long after having a baby, Duer returned to the ring earlier this year and won the International Boxing Federation’s bantamweight title. She is now among the greatest Jewish boxers (male or female) of all time. Duer has been nicknamed “The Turk” and “Iron Barbie”. In her spare time, she often volunteers with disadvantaged youth, and has said, “I do a lot of work with kids on the street. I explain to them that boxing isn’t violent. It can be used to give them focus. It’s good for both body and mind.”
Words of the Week
Transgressions of man towards God – Yom Kippur atones for them. Transgressions of man towards man – Yom Kippur does not atone for them until one seeks forgiveness from one’s fellow – Talmud, Yoma 85b
From the beginnings of professional boxing early in the last century, Jews have played an enormous role in the sport. The tradition continues with today’s two young stars Dmitry Salita and Yuri Foreman. Most amazingly, both are practising Orthodox Jews! Salita was born Dmitry Lekhtman in Odessa, Ukraine (he uses the maiden name of his mother, who passed away from breast cancer). His family immigrated to Brooklyn where he began his career at age 13, building an amateur record of 59 wins to just 5 losses. At 19 he began his professional career, and his record stands at 33 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, with 17 KOs. Salita has said, “I will never compromise my beliefs. Never. It’s not a question. I have a personal relationship with God… My boxing is such a big part of my life, but it won’t get in the way of my religion.” Meanwhile, Yuri Foreman was born in Belarus, where his mother signed him up to boxing so that he can stand up to anti-Semites. The family moved to Israel, then Brooklyn. Foreman recorded 75 wins to 5 losses in his amateur career, and since going pro has 28 wins and 2 losses. He is also studying to become an Orthodox Rabbi, and has said, “You have the physical and mental challenges in boxing, just like you have lots of challenges in exploring the different levels of Judaism. They are different but the same.” Final mention goes to rising star Roman Greenberg, nicknamed “the Lion from Zion”, a Moldovan-Israeli who was the youngest ever to win Israel’s heavyweight title. His record stands at 27-1. He says: “I represent Israel and myself. All through history, the Jews have always had to fight for their freedom and for their lives. When I come out wearing the Star of David, it shows the whole world that the Jews are still here and that they are successful.” Amen.
Kosher Boxer Dmitry Salita
Words of the Week
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato
The Three Stooges. From Left: Larry, Curly and Moe
Of all the comedy acts ever produced, few can claim the wild popularity and success of the Three Stooges. The act began in 1925 as “Ted Healy and His Stooges”, with the first film produced in 1930. But it only catapulted to success after 1934, when the cast was solidified as the famous “Larry, Curly and Moe” trio. Moses “Moe” Horowitz (1897-1975) and Jerome Lester “Curly” Horowitz (1903-1952) were brothers born to Jewish-Lithuanian immigrants in Brooklyn. Despite his on-screen debacles, Moses was actually a child prodigy who had a photographic memory. His brother Curly (whose birth name was Yehuda Lev) was initially a well-known ballroom dancer and singer. They had a third brother Shmuel “Shemp” Horowitz (1895-1955) who was also part of the original act, and later returned after Curly died of a stroke in 1952. Meanwhile, Louis “Larry” Feinberg (1902-1975) was a Jewish-Russian comic and violinist from Philadelphia (who was once a professional boxer!) Together, Larry, Curly and Moe revolutionized farce and slapstick humour, and film comedians today owe a great deal to these pioneers. The Three Stooges starred in 220 films, at one point under contract to release 8 films every year because of their incredible popularity. They also appeared in four TV spin-offs, and between 1959 and 1966 recorded popular music albums. In the 1980s, a Three Stooges video game was created. It was so successful that the game was reintroduced in 2002 for GameBoy and in 2004 for PlayStation. Episodes of the Three Stooges continue to re-run around the world (and are particularly popular in East Asia). A new “The Three Stooges” movie is currently in production, reportedly starring Jim Carrey.
Words of the Week
When the mind is occupied… there is no room for stupid and vain thoughts devoid of substance. – The Lubavitcher Rebbe in Hayom Yom, Cheshvan 16