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WWE Entertainer Paul Heyman Says Kaddish for Goldberg: Watch

Two proud Jews are having a war of the words. Would you believe it?

Jonathan Zalman
March 28, 2017

First, let’s take a moment to enjoy this rare moment in history in which a wrestling event showcases, if even for a few seconds, Jewish prayer on live television. In the video below (spotted by the good folks at Deadspin) WWE entertainer and manager Paul Heyman rants side-by-side with his wrestler, Brock Lesnar, in anticipation of a big match (this weekend’s WrestleMania 33) against Tablet favorite Goldberg. Heyman believes that event will be the end of Goldberg, quite literally, so he recites a few lines of kaddish to mourn the upcoming occurrence.

What’s further interesting here is that both Heyman and Goldberg are Jewish. Goldberg, a legend who recently returned to the ring, has said that he wants to be a role model for Jewish kids and once even considered using “Mossad” as his wrestling moniker. “I take a lot of pride in who I am and where I came from,” he said. (He also has a good sense of humor.)

Heyman also has an interesting Jewish background. His mother was a Holocaust survivor (Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen), and a wrestling reporter for Slam! once wrote a profile of Heyman centered around a 2009 visit to the UN for Holocaust Remembrance Day just a month or so before his mother, Sulamita, died of cancer. They had attended the very first event there in 2006 together.

“I wish I could find the words to accurately describe the holy obligation carried by the first generation of children of Holocaust Survivors. It’s not a religious thing. It’s EVERY thing,” Heyman explains. “The most influential moment of my life actually happened 20 years before I was born, when the British soldiers liberated Bergen Belsen on April 15, 1945.”

As the ceremonies begin, Heyman places a translator on his ear, looking more the diplomat than the wrestling promoter, and I realize that this is the real Paul Heyman. Not Paul E. Dangerously, the promoter, but Paul Heyman, the son of a Holocaust survivor, who fought a largely ignored battle against racism in the profession of his choice.

His tone is almost reverential, as if his next words are something of Holy Scripture, revealing the heartbreaking and yet heroic struggle of his mother: “After being liberated, my mother lived her entire life as if she carried the souls of her younger sister and her mother, who went to the gas chambers in Auschwitz,” Heyman stated. “Everything my mother has done with her life, she has done with their spirits in mind.”

The article is well worth a read in full.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.

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