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The college is Christian. Its star athlete? An Orthodox Jew

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Your starting point guard for California Lutheran University: The boy in the yarmulke

 

Playing basketball in a Jewish desert hasn’t always been easy for Ze’ev Remer, who is Orthodox. That was kind of the point, our Louis Keene reports in a new profile of Remer, a freshman at California Lutheran.

Judaism 101: Russell White, the head coach, had Remer give the team a preseason primer on Shabbat, kashrut, tzitzit, tefillin and other topics of curiosity. The hardest thing for the teammates to wrap their heads around seems to be the dietary restrictions. “Someone was like, ‘Take half my candy bar,’” Remer recalled. “And it’s like, ‘Sorry, I can’t eat it — I just ate meat.’ They’re like, ‘What does that even mean?’”

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‘If you just continue being stuck in an echo chamber,’ said Ze’ev Remer, ‘in Jewish day schools and with Jewish friends, you’re never gonna reach out and educate other people.’ (Jon Putman)

Lonely man of faith: Isolation has given Remer, who is 20, a lot of time to think about his observance. And he said it has made him more devout. “In this situation, the only way for me to have that relationship with God is by being super strict on certain things,” he said. “I don’t know if I was at Y.U., with a nice Jewish population, that I would have that same drive. Because there, I would just be another Jew. I wouldn’t feel like my yiddishkeit has to come from me.”

 

No work, all play: When the team has a game on Shabbat, Remer usually walks to the arena and wears a white yarmulke. He also avoids double-knotting his shoelaces, which some consider Shabbat-prohibited work. “I see my friends at Maryland, I see my friends at UCLA, and everything’s easier for them,” said Remer, who went to Shalhevet, a Jewish day school in Los Angeles. “But I think that’s what makes me unique. Like, it’s definitely gonna define me in the long run.”

 

Read the story ➤

ALSO FROM THE FORWARD

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(iStock)

First person | My mother and grandmother never made challah. Here’s why I do: The Yiddish editor of the Forward, Rukhl Schaechter, always cooks up a storm for Shabbat, but usually left the challah baking to the professionals. Why spend the time when you can pick up a perfectly suitable loaf at the bakery? But then she discovered a recipe named for the European city her father was from, a major Jewish culture hub in Romania before the Holocaust. Behold, the Czernowitzer challah. Baking it created a “visceral bond” between her and her ancestors, she wrote. “It was like coming home.” Read her essay ➤

 

Opinion | If you want to support Israel, boycott its new government: “In the current circumstances,” writes David Enoch, a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, “supporting Israel can only mean opposing its policies and government.” After weeks of mass demonstrations in Israel against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reforms and other controversial policies, he argues, American Jews bear a moral responsibility to boycott. Read his essay ➤

 

But wait, there’s more…

  • House Republicans voted Thursday to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee because of her criticism of Israel and past comments that were perceived as antisemitic … In a new OpEd, Abe Silberstein argues that if Republicans were truly concerned about antisemitism, they’d be sanctioning their own members.
  • Today in Rep. George Santos news: A newly surfaced 2020 video shows him suggesting all people are Jewish “because Jesus Christ is Jewish.” And a fellow New York congressman accused Santos Thursday of trafficking in tropes about Jews and money.
  • An Israeli docuseries that features never-before-heard confessions from Adolf Eichmann arrived on Amazon Prime Video this week. “The opening moments are shot like a horror movie,” our PJ Grisar wrote in a review. “It’s chilling to hear.”

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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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Security footage of the Schneerson Center in San Francisco, as a man fires blanks during a study session. (Courtesy)

🔫  A group of Russian-speaking Jews reported to the police on Thursday that a man disrupted their study session at a Jewish center in San Francisco the night before and fired blanks from a handgun. Jarring footage from a security camera shows the man, who apparently spoke in accented Russian, gesturing animatedly before firing six to eight shots toward the group of senior citizens. (J. The Jewish News of Northern California, AP)

 

📺   Rep. Eric Burlison, a Republican from Missouri, compared DirecTV dropping a conservative news channel to the Holocaust. DirecTV is in a contract dispute with Newsmax and replaced it with another right-wing network. (Daily Beast, CNN)

 

🏫  New York City education officials said they would block payments for some companies that have billed the government to provide special education, primarily for students in Hasidic yeshivas. The new policy comes after an executive at some of the city’s top-earning special education providers, Martin Handler, was arrested last month and charged with stealing millions of dollars in public money intended to pay for early education for low-income children. (New York Times)

 

💸  An Israeli group that assists Jewish prisoners convicted in some of the country’s most notorious hate crimes has halted its fundraising efforts through a U.S.-based Jewish charity following an investigation by The Associated Press and the Israeli nonprofit news organization Shomrim. (AP)

 

🖼️  A French court ordered Christie’s to return an 18th-century Dutch painting confiscated by the Nazis to the heirs of a French banker and distant relative of Marcel Proust. (Art News)

 

🎭  Actor Joshua Malina, star of both The West Wing and Jodi Rudoren’s recent column, will join Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, the hit Broadway show which follows the 20th century lives of an extended Jewish family. Malina called it “a pinch-me job.” (Deadline, Twitter)

 

Shiva calls ➤  Allan A. Ryan, a Justice Department lawyer known as America’s foremost Nazi hunter for prosecuting dozens of collaborators living in the U.S., died at 77 … Tom Verlaine, a virtuoso guitarist for the punk band Television, died at 73 … Adira Koffsky, a 19-year-old from Long Island studying in Jerusalem, was killed in a car accident.

Long weekend reads ➤  Here’s what it’s like spending 16 hours staking out Rep. George Santos … An accidental discovery at an Israeli lab may solve the global sugar problem … In savaging the Israeli military, has a legendary puppet theater finally gone too far?

SHABBAT READING

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In this weekend’s edition of our print magazine: Judaism has rituals for so many lifecycle events – births, bnai mitzvah, weddings, deaths – but nothing specific for those who’ve experienced a miscarriage. A new memorial garden in northern California aims to change that, by creating a space built to mourn fertility loss. “Your womb became a grave,” said a rabbi who consulted on the project.

 

Plus: An interview with Israel’s new minister of diaspora affairs, who blamed political foes for eroding relations with American Jews; and, after last week’s deadly Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp, a look back at a controversial documentary about the siege there during the second intifada. Download your copy now ➤

ON THE CALENDAR

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Heimlich published a 2014 memoir, Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years Of Lifesaving Innovation. (Wikimedia)

On this day in history (1920): Henry Heimlich, the doctor who invented the Heimlich maneuver, was born to Jewish parents in Wilmington, Delaware. Heimlich came up with the choking-prevention technique in 1974 after he read about a large number of deaths that were first thought to be cardiac arrest but later attributed to diners choking on food. Heimlich claimed his maneuver had saved over 100,000 lives. He performed it himself when he noticed another resident at his senior living center in Cincinnati choking on a hamburger. He died, at 96, in 2016.

Last year on this day, we reviewed Netflix’s Tinder Swindler documentary about an Israeli con man.

VIDEO OF THE DAY

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To end the week, I joined my colleague Laura E. Adkins, the Forward’s opinion editor, to banter about some of the Jewish news you may have missed (a gift shop selling an antisemitic t-shirt for Valentine’s Day?!?) and to hear more about her recent trip to Holocaust sites in Poland and Germany with Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman of the United States. Watch our conversation ➤

 

Thanks to Nora Berman, Samuel Breslow, Sarah Nachimson and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at editorial@forward.com.

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The post The college is Christian. Its star athlete? An Orthodox Jew appeared first on The Forward.


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