I am not the world’s biggest boxing fan, which is my way of saying that two grown men pummeling each other seems to me like a criminal act, not a sport. Still, I make exceptions now and again, and I do have a favorite Orthodox Jewish boxer: Yuri Foreman. Foreman is an Israeli who happens to be the current World Boxing Association super welterweight champion. (My favorite Conservative Jewish boxer? My late great-uncle George, never more than 5’4” or so, famous in the family for his brief amateur boxing days. At least I think he was Conservative. Anyway, back to Yuri…).

Foreman is not just Orthodox, he is pursuing rabbinical studies at a Brooklyn yeshiva, and like any observant Jew, won’t work on Shabbat, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. So this Saturday night, according to this profile on the site Boxing Fanhouse–Foreman will have his own Koufax-ish moment when he remains in his hotel until the sun sets and the Sabbath departs–at 9:14 p.m., for those keeping count–when he will head to Yankee Stadium for the first-ever professional boxing match there.
Despite the increasing prevalence of Sabbath-observant Jews in public life, I still get a thrill when I hear of someone like Foreman sticking to his beliefs and making the necessary arrangements to live his faith fully and unapologetically and thrive in the world, however brutal his professional path may be.
Shabbat shalom, Yuri. And when you’re done having a peaceful Sabbath, go out and kick some butt.
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