A Female Orthodox Basketball Star

March 12, 2009

Being that I work for Sharfman’s Seminary, a wonderful post high-school program for young Orthodox Jewish women, I often take particular interest in any story that may speak to our student body. That said,  I never thought that I would find any of the words from the title of this post in one sentence…but sure enough the day has arrived!

Every heard of Naama Shafir?

I certainly hadn’t heard the name until I came across this article. And while I do not agree with the position that her particular Rabbi took, that of allowing her to play competitive college hoops on Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest not of exercise), she does nonetheless come across as a good teammate as well as an Orthodox Jew struggling to define herself in a contemporary world and in a sport that she loves.

Indeed, the first high profile Orthodox basketball player was a lanky red head from Baltimore named: Tamir Goodman. Truth be told, the man once featured on magazine covers and labeled, “The Jewish Jordan” now finds himself more spiritually in tune and fervently devoted to God and Judaism. Interestingly, this is seemingly due to the fact that his playing career led him not to the coveted NBA. Rather, he ended up playing ball for several years on various Israeli teams. Spending time in the Land of Israel allowed him to discover his heritage while playing the game that he loved and by extension, has allowed him to develop into the person he is today. On the other hand, it appears that Ms. Shafir seems to be pursuing her dream while making the opposite move. She has traveled thousands of miles away from the Holy Land to American soil.

And yet, what I took away from the article that features Ms. Shafir is how far America has come in terms of the acceptance of Shabbat within the workplace. Indeed, many great Rabbis have remarked, that when they were growing up in America, they would sit in Shul, and following the morning services, men would have to go off to work. Nowadays however, the need to express this level of religious observance is being accommodated to an unprecedented level.

May it be Hashem’s will, that it today’s economy this level of understanding and religous acceptance does not creep backwards but only continues to be accepted!

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2 Responses to “A Female Orthodox Basketball Star”

  1. Michelle Nevada on May 8th, 2009 3:26 am


    Thank you so much for linking to my post on Tamir Goodman. I also wrote a post on this young woman and I find not only her story, but her ability to touch others as an inspiration to us all.



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