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Just thought I should mention that Shay Doron who is a starter and one of the leaders on the Maryland women’s team that beat North Carolina’s dominant basketball team last night to advance to the finals, is Israeli born and definitely Jewlicious…even if she did attend high school at Christ the King high school.

Tonight, UCLA plays Florida for the national championship, and it turns out that one of their leaders, Jordan Farmar, had a bar mitzvah and is born to a Jewish mother. I have no idea whether he considers himself Jewish or not, but apparently he has visited Israel growing up.

He stood in Temple Judea in Tarzana, Calif., a 13-year-old reciting all the prayers he had memorized in Hebrew school. He ignored the 600 people who had come to his bar mitzvah. He focused only on the prayers.

But at the end of the ceremony, when Farmar’s mother joined him to offer congratulations, she froze when she tried to speak. Tears were all that came out. As the crowd began to stir, young Farmar remained steady.

“I just remember him putting his hand on me,” said Mindy Kolani, Farmar’s mother. “He told me: ‘It’s O.K. We’re doing fine. We’re going to be all right.’ “

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(First photo from Baltimore Sun and second from NYTimes)

EDIT: thanks to Ofri, I went and googled Farmar. First, I don’t think there are better photos. Second, it appears that while not observant, his Jewish identity is important to him.

“I’ve been around success in sports my whole life,” Farmar said. “My father is a professional athlete. I don’t want to be any different. I don’t want to hear you’re not as good or athletic or talented as your father,” said Farmar.

Farmar’s parents divorced when he was young. His mother, Melinda Kolani, and stepfather, Yehuda Kolani, raised Farmar in a Jewish home, took him to Israel and sponsored his Temple Judea bar mitzvah. Farmar doesn’t consider himself observant, but identifies himself as part of the Jewish people.

“That is part of me, of who I am,” said the 2004 Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame High School Athlete of the Year. “People are watching the game, the way I carry myself on and off the court, and I know that all reflects on my community and my people.”

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17 Comments

  • i would presume that anyone who has had a bar mitzvah and been to Israel considers himself Jewish. and a little googling very quickly confirms his jewliciousness. so he’s Jewish. so he’s totally hot and is 6’2″. none of that is going to stop Florida from kicking UCLA’s ass tonight.

  • i bothered to google image search, because i had a feeling this guy had to look better than he does in the unfortunate photo you chose. what do you know? i was right.

  • April 3, 2006

    An OU Program’s Uncanny Ability to Predict NCAA Basketball Finalists:
    At UCLA and the University of Florida, March Madness Shares the Campus with Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Program

    They were not chosen because of their athletic prowess but because of their Jewish student populations, but UCLA and the University of Florida, who will compete for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tonight as the culmination of “March Madness,” are two of the 12 universities coast-to-coast that comprise the Orthodox Union’s Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) program.

    One of last year’s finalists, the University of Illinois, also is a JLIC school, meaning that three of the last four competitors for the NCAA title have combined first-rate basketball with Jewish learning at a high level. In addition, The University of Pennsylvania, another JLIC campus and the perennial Ivy League champion, was in the tournament this year and qualifies almost every year.

    JLIC – a cooperative effort of the OU, Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and the Torah Mitzion organization – places a young Orthodox rabbi and his wife on secular campuses to provide the atmosphere of the yeshiva for non-Orthodox and Orthodox students alike. Besides the schools named above, JLIC is also found at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Brandeis, New York University, Brooklyn College, The University of Maryland and Rutgers.

    “Basketball championships are ephemeral while the study of Torah is eternal,” declared Rabbi Menachem Schrader, Founding Director of JLIC. “When the excitement of the championship game fades, the excitement of Torah study will live on for UCLA and University of Florida JLIC students every day of their lives.”

    And then, with a twinkle in his eyes, Rabbi Schrader said, “University presidents who want to go to the Final Four should bring JLIC to their campuses.”

  • naw, you can google search yourself. i myself am much too busy obsessing over how much i love Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, etc. And what a class act Billy Donovan is. Oy, it’s good to be a Gator.

  • ok, fine, maybe it’s just on my computer that the picture looks pixelated and unclear. That is neither here nor there. Who are the terps?
    At any rate, interestingly enough (to me, anyway), Farmar was seriously considering playing for UF. Sucks for him.

  • It’s not so bad coming in second in the country and being a leader on a team in Los Angeles. I’m sure he’s doing fine.

    Besides, losing builds character. 😉

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