See him at Jewlicious this weekend!The LA Times featured Yuri Foreman in an article today:
Foreman, the unbeaten “Lion of Zion,” became the latest to join the list after twice knocking down heavily favored Daniel Santos to win the World Boxing Assn. junior middleweight title last November in Las Vegas. That made him the first Israeli fighter to win a world title and earned him one of the championship banners that cover the walls of the dingy gym… Yet after climbing to the top of a sport he has long attacked with zeal, Foreman finds that his accomplishment has to share the spotlight with his other pursuit. The boxer, you see, is studying to be a rabbi, spending each morning in the middle of the Torah learning how to interpret the will of God, and each afternoon in the middle of a gym learning how to break the will of his next opponent.
The LA Times also interviewed our own Rabbi Yonah Bookstein:
Los Angeles Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, who has invited the boxer to speak at the Jewlicious cultural festival in Long Beach this weekend, said Foreman “has been able to keep one foot firmly planted in his Jewishness and the other foot planted in the world that he loves, boxing. Young people need positive role models and Yuri’s a great role model. His story is very compelling.” …It’s a story that includes an Israeli national title won while training in an Arab gym, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a death threat from a masked gunman, and a marriage to a Hungarian model.
What’s most interesting though is that this story isn’t just about ass whupping Jews and Rabbis. There’s a warm fuzzy aspect to it as well:
Boxing receives such feeble support in Israel, Foreman had to train in the courtyard of an elementary school or on the balcony of Kozlowski’s apartment, where a punching bag hung. To get in a ring and spar, Foreman and his training partners had to drive to a distant Arab neighborhood gym where they knew they weren’t welcome… “You are a Russian Jew and they know that. They were trying to hurt you,” Foreman says of the fighters training there. But “after the workouts we’d shake hands. And then slowly we had friends.” … He became Israel’s most decorated boxer, a three-time national amateur champion. He was invited to celebrate Muslim holidays in Arab homes, where he was always seated at the head of the table. When Foreman won his world title, he received almost as many calls and e-mails of congratulations from the West Bank as he did from the rest of Israel.
Championship boxer, aspiring Rabbi, voice of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East? That’s a pretty powerful 1-2-3 combo there… Can’t wait to meet him. You can too at this weekend’s Jewlicious Festival. Pre-sale tickets are are on sale until midnight PST. Afterwards, limited tickets will be available at the door. Come for the whole weekend or just for a day. Otherwise I will sick Yuri on you.