Israeli Won't Compete on Yom Kippur
By Micah Halpern
Monday August 20, 2018
I've Been Thinking:
Dan Kramer is the lead member of Israel's Equestrian Team. The team has a chance to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan. But to qualify, they need to score high ranks in certain international competitions.
The best of the competitions will take place in September in the United States. But there's a problem - the competition takes place on Yom Kippur. Dan Kramer was insistent that he, personally, would not compete on Yom Kippur. He said that, out of respect for Judaism and out of respect for the Israeli people, he would not compete.
Kramer has written an open letter that reads: "I decided not to join the other members of the Israeli national team and not to participate in the upcoming world championships in the United States, because the competition is taking place on Yom Kippur and I want to honor this day as well as the Israeli public and Jewish Diaspora."
"I think that it will be a serious mistake in judgment to compete on this holy day, despite the sporting implications of not participating in such a major and important competition that will hurt my international score and my, and my horse's, chances of reaching the Olympics. As far as I'm concerned, this is not a matter of personal choice. As a Jewish athlete and a proud Israeli, I do not intend to offend the sensitivities of the Israeli public and the Jewish world in general and compete on our holiest day."
"I do not intend to compete 'below the radar,' as has been hinted to me more than once in my conversations with key people in the federation, because I believe that every performance by an Israeli team should be a heart-warming affair that fills every Israeli and Jew with pride."
The rest of the team has decided to compete. They are, however, split in favor of and opposed to the decision of their team captain.
The truth is that without Kramer, Israel's Equestrian Team's chance of reaching the Olympics is greatly diminished.
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