July 9, 2024
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Frisch Hears From the Jewish Jordan

Tamir Goodman, the “Jewish Jordan,” spoke to Frisch freshmen on Monday about the challenges and triumphs of forging a career as a professional basketball player while maintaining observant Judaism.

Tamir, who grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, talked about being recruited for college basketball after being ranked the 25th best high school player in the country. He received a full athletic scholarship to the University of Maryland, but the team’s schedule included practice and games on Friday nights and Saturdays. He declined Maryland’s offer and accepted an offer to play at Towson University—during which time, he experienced abusive behavior from a newly-hired coach who was not as accommodating to Tamir’s religious needs as the previous coach had been. Despite this, Tamir persevered and went on to play basketball for Maccabi Tel Aviv, fulfilling his dream of making Aliyah; he served in the IDF, as well. He eventually signed with Maccabi Haifa—but injuries he sustained over the years forced him to retire from playing basketball in 2009.

Despite this blow, Tamir became a sought-after motivational speaker and coach. He runs many basketball camps and clinics with Omri Caspi, the only Israeli basketball player in the NBA. He also founded a successful company, Sport Strings Tzitzit, that produces compression-fit, moisture-wicking tzitzit. He lives in Yerushalayim today with his wife and their four children.

Tamir’s dedication to his faith before his sport, at which he excelled, inspired his teammates, coaches and fans around the world. His words about finding the light amid the challenges—and persevering to succeed when life doesn’t always work out the way you had planned—was a perfect way to inspire the students during this festival of lights.

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