Sunday, January 01, 2006

Yeshiva Orthodoxy: Chabad grad, NFL pro

"At 6'6 and more than 300 pounds, Igor Olshansky is among the NFL's strongest players. He also went to a Chabad high school, doesn't eat pork, and wants to visit Israel after the current season ends. Not your typical nice Jewish boy...
..Igor Olshansky, another lesser known Jewish hero, also charges elephants… human elephants. It may not be the most American name you'll find on an NFL roster, but the San-Diego Chargers' defensive lineman has made a name for himself as one of the NFL's leading lights...
Olshansky was born in 1982 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, to a hard-working Jewish family. After the fall of the Iron Curtain the family tried its luck in the United States, settling in San Francisco where Igor was exposed to traditional immigrant hardships.
'It is not easy to relocate from a place like the Ukraine to the United States. My parents did not know any English and had a hard time settling in financially and culturally. Personally, I remember kids putting me down because I didn't know the language, but that quickly came to a stop. Since I was bigger and stronger than most of the kids, they had no choice so they quit harassing me,' he says.
The Jewish community in San Francisco assisted the family, helping it adapt to a new life. He attended the local Chabad-run Hebrew Academy, where he says he developed a strong Jewish identity.
'I learned a great deal about myself and about what it means to be a Jew. My identity has come together as a man of faith. I have learned to read and write in Hebrew, I learned Torah and prayed two or three times a day. It unveiled a new world to me, some of which I still keep until today.
'I am not really a religious man, but I believe in God, and it is important for me to lead a Jewish life and build a Jewish home. I married a Jewish girl, I celebrate the holidays, and although I don't keep kosher, I would never eat pork,' he says...

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 7:31 PM

SephardiLady said...

The Hebrew Academy of San Fran is not a Chabad school.
11:01 PM
Anonymous said...

I hope the human elephant doesn't come after the guys who absconded with the Chabad menorah.
11:50 AM
Anonymous said...

It didn't say Hebrew Academy of San Fran - maybe Lub. made their own school there."

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