The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 24 November 2007 / 14 Kislev 5768

A Female Sandy Koufax

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
It was a Jewish pitcher who made history back in 1965 by refusing to play in the World Series on Yom Kippur.

It was a Jewish karate champion who, 18 years later, made a somewhat similar gesture of Jewish pride by refusing to compete in the U.S. World Championship trials being held on Rosh Hashana.

Sara Rivka Emstoff, then known as Pam Glaser, holder of a fourth-degree black belt in karate, was the reigning U.S. women's national karate champion. Her refusal to violate the sanctity of the Jewish New Year ultimately left her out of the squad that went to the World Karate Championship matches in Taiwan.

"Though I was not observant at the time," explained this karate whiz during a recent visit to Israel," I felt a sense of Jewish pride and there was no way I would compete on the Jewish New Year no matter what the consequences."

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