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Orthodox player from Baltimore signs deal
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Baltimore Jewish Times
amir Goodman once wrote
in his seventh-grade year-
book that his dream was to
play professional basketball
someday for Israel's top team, Maccabi
This week, his dream came true.
The Baltimore Jewish Times was
informed July 22 that the 20-year-old
nom has signed a
Maccabi Tel Aviv,
Israel's most pres-
tigious team and a
"The first thing
that came to my
mind was Baruch
is God)," said
"There is no
other way to look at it. Without
HaShem's blessing, this never would
"Everyone has a special talent in the
world. With me, it is basketball," he
said. "Whatever your talent is, it is your
job to develop it and bring Godliness to
it. I've had a lot of ups and downs, but it
is so clear to me what HaShem has
given me an opportunity to do."
Maccabi Tel Aviv plays an 82-game
schedule and competes in three leagues:
Israel, the Adriatic and the Euro. .
Maccabi Tel Aviv finished in the final
four of the Euro League last year, and
won the league in 2000.
In the first year of the deal, there is a
chance that Goodman will be loaned to
the Halpoel Galil Elyon team to give
him more playing time, according to
Steve Heumann, Goodman's attorney.
The team plays in the same Israel
League as Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Heumann said it is common practice
in European basketball style for teams to
loan players within divisions.
Most importantly for Goodman, an
Orthodox Jew, he will not be required to
play or practice on Shabbat or Jewish
holidays. His attorney believes this is the
first such clause in a professional basket-
ball contract. Financial terms of the con-
tract were not released. Practice will start
in 3-4 weeks.
Goodman, a 6-foot-3 guard, cap-
tured media attention as a Baltimore
Talmudical Academy junior for his
athletic skill and commitment to
He initially considered attending the
University of Maryland, but opted out
when there was a question over the
school respecting his Shabbat obser-
He then attended Towson University
near Baltimore, but parted company
with the school after the basketball
coach, Michael Hunt, allegedly threat-
ened him following a game last
As a freshman the year before,
Goodman averaged 6 points, 4 assists
and 2.5 rebounds per game. After quit-
ting the team, Goodman finished his
sophomore school year at Towson under
In trips to Israel, Goodman was
swarmed by children and young adults.
He put on skill demonstrations for
them, and then discussed the week's
Torah portion. He appeared on Israel's
most popular television talk show, speak-
ing fluent Hebrew.
"Everything that has happened to me
has been a 100 percent binchah (bless-
ing)," Goodman said recently. "Even
what happened at Towson, and that's so
behind me, was a brachah."
Following his departure from the
Towson team, Goodman maintained a
strenuous strength and endurance regi-
men at two Baltimore gyms.
"I'm not bitter about anything," he
said. "Again, I see this all as God's plan
for me. I guess I'm a trailblazer. Some
people felt that after Towson, it was a
sign for me to get out of basketball,
that maybe it wasn't right for me. But
that isn't the case. God has a special
plan for me, but it's my job to develop
"I'm not an amazing person,"
Goodman said. "I'm just following
God's plan." ❑