Friday, March 13, 2009

It's A Long Way From Israel to Toledo

There was a very interesting article in the Jerusalem Post recently about the first female Orthodox Jewish NCAA Division I basketball player. Her name is Na'ama Shafir and she is a freshman point guard at the University of Toledo, of all places. What was most striking, and heartwarming about the article was the lengths to which her teammates and the Toledo athletic department would go to accommodate Shafir's religious beliefs and the obligations those beliefs placed upon her. I also found her rabbi's interpretation of Shabbat work in the context of basketball to be creative. Playing games is play while practice is work may make some degree of logical sense but I'm not sure that you will be able to find total agreement to that sentiment among most Orthodox rabbis. I'm not knocking Shafir's rabbi. Far from it, I think his solution is creative and responsive to her needs and just the sort of religious adaption to reality that marks Conservative Judaism but is not usually associated with the Orthodox. It's good to see and I commend the article to you.

1 comment:

Shtetl Fabulous said...

Thanks for sharing this story! I'd be interested to learn more about how the team is accomodating her and how the local Orthodox community has responded (both in Toledo and her hometown).