Big, Not So Bad, Bill Goldberg
The man who made his name as a Jewish pro wrestler talks about his recent religious awakening
What was your religious upbringing like?
Unfortunately, it didn't go much beyond my Bar Mitzvah at age 13. When I was a kid you were either Orthodox or you were not, at least that's how it seemed. But I realize now it's different. Last weekend I went to my nephew's Bar Mitzvah, and it struck me that I'd wasted many years not really knowing who I was religiously. Growing up I considered Sunday school a form of torture. I lost a lot of opportunities to learn and grow because I didn't take in as much as I should have. So I've had to go back and really learn who I am. And I'm more proud of who I am every day.
So you consider yourself a religious seeker?
Absolutely. I've tried to connect in every way that I can, whether it's spending time with various rabbis or speaking to groups like Hillel. And I've been reading to try to understand just what my Bar Mitzvah was all about. In a sense, all I did as a kid was memorize stuff. So I told my nephew at his Bar Mitzvah, "Definitely look at this as something serious and learn from it. Make it a springboard for religious growth." But as far as I was concerned as a kid, religion was drudgery, like having to go to more school. That attitude doesn't work for me any more.
Basically, I just want to be as knowledgeable and to grow as much as I can in every way possible. And the most important thing in life is religion, obviously. Now, I'm not going to sit here and pound the Torah for you! I just think it's important for everyone to know who they are.