July 24, 2024
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July 24, 2024
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Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Week: Simi Friedman

The Jewish Link of New Jersey and Teaneck Doghouse would like to recognize 25 year-old Simi Friedman as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. Friedman celebrated his quarter century birthday on Simchat Torah two weeks after his Knockers team won their fifth straight CBY softball championship. Simi is the Knocker’s manager and as one Knocker told the JLNJ “an invaluable part of our squad.”

Simi’s name is an abbreviated version of Simcha, a midah that he truly exemplifies. Having special needs has sent Simi on a different path and schedule than the typical Modern Orthodox child growing up in Teaneck. He went to public school (wearing his kippah and tzitzit every day) and learned limudei kodesh privately and by modeling what was taught in his home. He still goes to OT, and after 23 years of speech therapy he now works on it at home. Simi’s mother told the JLNJ, “One concern was that he might not find his niche in the community. How wrong we were. Hashem has opened up amazing doors for Simi. He is an active volunteer at the Bnai Yeshurun Men’s Club kiddushim and for five years has met friends for dinner and Divrei Torah at YU. He has 1,620 friends on Facebook—and the number is always growing! This community has been amazing. His friends range from all ages and all backgrounds, and have not only been warm, but have also been inclusive in every way they can think of. Hashem’s brachot have surely shined on Simi and this community has been amazing in helping him develop into a cherished member of Klal Yisrael!”

Simi, happy belated birthday and congrats on a fifth straight CBY softball championship. If you had to pick one person, who is your role model, and why?

One of my favorite role models is Rabbi Jonathan Schachter. He helps everyone belong in their own special way, just like the Knockers did for me. I worked with him in Camp Morasha for eight years on sports staff; I help him with coaching varsity softball at Frisch; and I’ve davened at teen minyan, which he’s run at Bnai Yeshurun for many years. He asks me to lead brachot and I’ve done haftorahs. He’s an all around person—a great athlete and very bright. He teaches many things and he works hard, but the greatest thing about him is how he cares about everyone.

What is your greatest sports accomplishment, so far?

It’s hard to pick one. Being the manager of the Knockers for many years and rooting the team on has been great. I also liked playing against other camps on the Camp Morasha staff team during “Simi Time,” or playing hockey in the Mo cup at camp. I like meeting new guys on the Frisch team and helping them feel good about working as a team.

Who is your favorite athlete, and why?

My favorite athlete is Derek Jeter. He always spoke to his teammates nicely, and played a wicked game.

What is your pre-game routine, if you have one?

When I play a sport, I like to help everyone feel the fun during practice. That’s my warm up!

What is your favorite sport to play?

I like to watch baseball (Yankees), basketball (Knicks), hockey (Rangers, TABC, and Frisch) and football (Giants). I have a pretty good shot when I play basketball, and I like to swim. I also love to bowl and was an alternate player on the bowling team in high school.

What is your favorite sports memory?

My favorite sports memory was when my brothers played hockey for TABC and won the yeshiva league championship!

What do you like to do when you are not playing ball?

Hang with my friends, go to sports games, volunteer at Holy Name Hospital and play xbox.

What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?

The best thing about being a Sportstar is that I get to say thank you to everyone who has given me the chance to be an important part of the team. I thank the Knockers for making sure I got to each game, and to every single player, every single year for being so good to me. I thank Jonny Bendavid for starting me on the team. I love sports! I love knowing the details of the standings and I love being part of a team. I like watching others feel the excitement of playing too.

The Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Week will receive a $15 gift certificate to Teaneck Doghouse. Please send nominees for an upcoming Jewish Link of New Jersey and Teaneck Doghouse Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].

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