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YA HOOPSTERS AND THE “JEWISH JORDAN”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Person: Jennifer Harris 770-451-5299 jharris@yeshivaatlanta.org

ATLANTA, Georgia, November 4, 2013

Yeshiva Atlanta players with Tamir Goodman
Yeshiva Atlanta players with Tamir Goodman

– What do the members of Yeshiva Atlanta’s basketball team have in common with the “Jewish Jordan” (other than kippot and tzitzit)? The 2013 Cooper Invitational Basketball Tournament.

The Cooper Yeshiva High School National Invitational Basketball Tournament, hosted by the Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis, Tennessee, has become the second largest yeshiva high school athletic event in North America. This year’s Invitational, which ran from Thursday afternoon, October 31, through Sunday morning, November 3, included a top tier sixteen team national basketball event and a meaningful Shabbaton immersed in “southern hospitality.” On the court, the YA hoopsters were 1 – 3, a result not entirely unexpected by Coach Rick Marcellino. “We are one of the smallest schools in the tournament and play against teams that draw from 500 to 800 students. I always view the tournament as our exhibition season, especially this year, given that we had less than two weeks of practice before coming to Memphis.”

Off the court, however, was a different story, as the boys were dazzled at the Friday night oneg where Tamir Goodman was the featured speaker.Goodman burst upon the national basketball scene in 1999 when, as a junior at an all-boys Jewish high school, he was featured in Sports Illustrated and was dubbed the “Jewish Jordan,” a title he said he has been trying to downplay ever since. Goodman captivated the public’s attention with an intriguing combination of devout faith and basketball prowess on the court. He was a top-ranked high school recruit (averaging 35.4 points per game for the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore) and went on to make history as the first Jewish basketball player to play D-I college and professional basketball while faithfully wearing a yarmulke on the court and without playing on the Jewish Shabbat. In his talk with the tournament participants on Friday night, Goodman discussed the life lessons he learned from basketball, starting with lessons in humility taught him by at the age of nine by his father. He talked about his accomplishments on the court and the challenges he faced maintaining the Torah ideals he was committed to by never playing on Shabbat. When asked by one of the boys why he did not choose to attend Yeshiva University, where playing on Shabbat would never be an issue, Goodman expressed his desire to play D-I ball and to keep Shabbat. In his mind, Goodman explained, the latter was a bigger Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name).

The YA boys listened intently to Goodman’s talk, and their interest intensified when he discussed his current business venture, Sports String Tzitzit, which produces undergarments which combine a sweat absorbing compression undershirt with kosher tzitzit. So did the interest of the group’s chaperone, Rabbi Reuven Travis, and that of some of the YA parents in attendance. Together these adults sponsored tzitzit for several of the YA players. The boys were very excited, and one of them, 11th grader Eliott Dosetareh, summed it up best when he said he would wear these tzitzit to school “every day they are clean!” Goodman, who brought with him an ample supply of Sports String Tzitzit to the tournament, was thrilled that so many boys from one school opted to wear his sports tzitzit during the tournament, and he gladly posed for a group photo with them.

http://www.yeshivaatlanta.org/) is a Modern Orthodox high school that daily works to build in our students a commitment to their Jewish faith and to the Jewish people. Our mission is to offer a well-rounded Torah-based college preparatory education to young Jewish men and women. We embrace the ideals of Ahavat Yisrael, the love of all Jews, and the significance of Medinat Yisrael, the State of