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.
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.