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August 24, 1990 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Lithuanian delegation, the first Soviet Maccabi team to compete in the Games, received a rousing reception from the Palace crowd of over 14,000.

Detroiters
Smitten
By Foreig
Charm

PHIL JACOBS

Assistant Editor

harlie Rothstein got
off the proverbial
merry-go-round last
week. And when he did, the
area businessman and coach
of the Detroit Maccabi
tennis team gained a new
perspective as to life's more
valuable priorities.
Scheduled to go to Europe
next week on business, Mr.
Rothstein didn't have time
for the Maccabi games. He
scheduled Maccabi meetings
in between power lunches.
But as Mr. Rothstein will
gladly say, it took a young,
pixie of a boy from the other
side of the planet to bring
the true meaning of the
games home for him.
Shalon Jacob is a 13-year-
old Lithuanian boy with a
bright Eastern European
smile and a friendly per-
sonality. He is a tennis
player on this history-
making Soviet contingent,
the first Russian team to be
allowed to leave the country
to participate in the Maccabi
games.
Mr. Rothstein recalled how
he was talking to a friend on
the telephone, complaining
to him about time con-
straints when he received a
call from games chairman
Jay Robinson. Mr. Robinson,

who worked countless hours
to make sure the Russians
would be able to get to
Detroit, asked Mr. Rothstein
if Shalon could practice with
the Detroit team. That
night, Mr. Rothstein met
Shalon Jacob. It was love at
first sight.
The Rothstein family had
the teenager over for a pizza
dinner. And when Mr.
Rothstein returned him to
his hotel, Shalon insisted he
be allowed to treat his new
Detroit friend to an orange
pop. He then asked Mr.
Rothstein to call him when
he got home safely because
he said he would worry
otherwise.
That did it for the power
lunches and for the phone
calls. All of a sudden, Mr.
Rothstein said, he had plen-
ty of time. On one day just
prior to the opening of the
competition, Mr. Rothstein
took his new friend shopping
for tennis apparel, fully out-
fitting him with tennis
shoes, socks, shorts and a
shirt from his parents'
Tennis Time apparel store in
Birmingham. On that same
day, Mr. Rothstein took
Shalon shopping for tennis
rackets. Shalon's father had
given him $100 to buy the

rackets, which was the
equivalent of two paychecks
back in Lithuania.
The Lithuanian youth at
first didn't understand that
he could keep everything.
When he learned that they
were presents from Mr.
Rothstein, he refused to tie
the shoelaces of the multi-
colored leather shoes be-
cause he wanted to keep it
all new as long as possible.
Shalon is enjoying his
presents, and Mr. Rothstein
can not stop smiling at
Shalon. •
"I'm learning something
about what the games are all
about," Mr. Rothstein
said."He is such a great kid.
Being with him these few
days is better than being on
a vacation. I just find it
uplifting being with him.
And for a change I have my
priorities lined up the right
way. My wife (Diana) and I
tried to arrange it so that he
could stay with us, but it
wasn't possible. And when
Jay Robinson told me it
wasn't possible, I was heart-
broken.
"It's funny, because I
called my friend back the
day after I met Shalon, and I
told him 'everything that I
said yesterday about not

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

19

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