Aaron Rajman (1992-2017) was born in the Bronx to an observant Jewish family. When he was four years old, the family moved to Florida. In his teen years, Rajman got involved with a bad crowd and struggled in his personal life. However, he soon got back onto the right path by returning to his religious roots, and taking up mixed martial arts. Rajman joined the American Top Team gym, one of the premier MMA training facilities in the US. He started racking up amateur wins, and earned six different titles before turning pro. His overall record was an impressive 21 wins to 4 losses. Despite his success in the ring, Rajman did not abandon his faith, making sure to keep the Sabbath and stay kosher. He was nicknamed “the Matzah Brawler”. Rajman was also an avid cook, and regularly hosted friends and family for Shabbat meals. In his spare time, he taught self defense in his community, and instructed local police officers in Krav Maga. After his father passed away from cancer, Rajman fought a number of charity bouts, donating the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Earlier this week, Rajman was recovering from a leg injury when a group of thugs broke in to his home and fatally shot him. It was just a week after his twenty-fifth birthday. His community in West Boca Raton remembers him as a “sensitive, caring and kindhearted soul.” Donations to his burial fund can be made here.
Words of the Week
Our mission on earth is to recognize the void – inside and outside of us – and fill it. – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson,the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Noad “Neo” Lahat (b. 1984) was born in Alfei Menashe, Israel, the son of two former IDF generals. He began practicing Judo when he was 5 years old. After serving for three and a half years in the Israeli Army, Lahat started learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu and by 2010 was the world champion in the sport. Having earned two black belts (in judo and jiu-jitsu), he was introduced to mixed martial arts by a friend. Lahat moved to San Jose and began training with the American Kickboxing Academy. He was undefeated in all of his mixed martial arts bouts when he was finally invited to the UFC. Although he lost his first match, Lahat came back for a second go on July 26 and earned his first UFC victory. He is now on his way back to Israel, choosing to go back to the IDF and help the Israeli Army in the current Gaza conflict. This was a purely voluntary decision that has won him the admiration of many. In his post-victory interview Lahat said, “My mom and my dad have 15 seconds to run to get shelter when missiles are falling on them, and I’m here in sunny California. I love California, but I need to go and defend my home… As a combat soldier, there’s nothing I want more in the world than peace… I don’t want to see more killing and more blood. The only blood [should be] in the Octagon.”
Words of the Week
It’s just another round of this ridiculous game. Hamas are shooting at us. We try to respond, but we can’t because most of the world… don’t let us finish the job and take Hamas down. So we stop, and then they’re shooting again. – Noad Lahat