Dmitriy “Star of David” Salita—an up-and-coming ultra-Orthodox Jewish boxer from Brooklyn—will take on the reigning champion in his junior-welterweight weight class, who’s a religious Muslim—in December, the New York Post reported yesterday. Apparently, no such match has taken place in the past, which means the symbolism is still fresh as a daisy! It also means that there will be even more excitement among Salita’s Brooklyn homeboys than is usual at his matches, where, according to the paper, “local members of the Chabad community show up en masse.” Celebrity Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach told the Post that at those matches, “You would think you were in a yeshiva. All these men in Coke-bottle glasses who are the most gentle people in the world are screaming ‘Hit him!’ as loud as they can.” For those who care about Great Jews in Sports—and, keep in mind, this is a different dude than the Israeli rabbinical student going for the welterweight belt in December—there’s something to the hype: if Salita winds up fighting Amir Khan, he’ll be “the first Jewish pugilist going for the junior-welterweight title since the 1930s, when Barney Ross wore the crown.”
Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.