B"H Monday, 5 Tammuz 5778 | June 18 2018
Shturem.org Taking The World By Storm
Photograph: Sasson Tiram
Dovid Salita Busy Helping Shliach
Cnaan Liphshiz/ Haaretz
"Israel is a good place for reflection," professional Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita told reporters on Wednesday in Jerusalem, after they asked the Orthodox Brooklynite about his future plans following his dramatic loss last Saturday night in a world championship fight.

"I feel almost like the fight never happened," said the Chabad follower on his first visit to Israel, after falling in a title-bid to Pakistani-Brit Amir Khan in Newcastle. The fight was stopped in the first round after Khan delivered a flush of accurate jabs and a left hook, downing Salita.

But in a conversation with Haaretz, the soft-spoken 27-year-old later recalled being "overwhelmed" by the hostility from the crowd, where thousands of fans booed him when he entered the ring wearing a Star of David logo on Saturday.

"I was stunned from what happened in the beginning," Salita said at the Jerusalem offices of the immigration assistance organization Nefesh B'Nefesh, which hosted him and his wife this week.

The atmosphere of the fight - the first one in which he lost after a string of 30 wins - made it difficult for Salita to "switch into gear," he said.

"I felt like I was fighting 10,000 people."

Perhaps the level of hostility caught Salita by surprise because he and Khan, a Muslim, had agreed not to highlight the fight's religious aspect.

"Beyond the boos, the place was filled with Al-lah hu akbar calls," said David Roitman, Salita's friend who was there with him at the stadium in Newcastle.

"I have been to many boxing fights but I had never seen anything like it," Roitman added. "People were flying Pakistani flags. I don't want to say there was anti-Semitism there, but there was a very un-sportive atmosphere that really took everyone by surprise."

Salita, who emigrated from Ukraine to the United States with his family when he was 9, described the atmosphere in Newcastle as "crazy and extremely intense."

"I'm used to local crowds favoring the local fighter but this was something I was not prepared for and from now on I will better know how to deal with," he said.

But it could be long months or even several years before Salita - who describes himself as a "fast and technical" boxer - will get the chance to fight for the title again, since Khan is not obligated to give him a rematch.

Within 24 hours of beginning their visit as guests of Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Salitas faced a barrage of questions on whether they planned to immigrate to Israel.

This prospect, Dmitriy and his wife Alona said, is not something they are considering now.

"I very much hope Dmitriy will join us and make aliyah in the near future and join the Jewish People," said Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh, which has brought 23,000 Jews to Israel from North America and the U.K since its foundation in 2002.

"Jews who come to visit Israel have spirit. But those who make aliya have a soul," said Eli Cohen, head of the Jewish Agency's Aliyah Department, which is Nefesh B'Nefesh's partner.

Finally, Claudia Katz, head of the Absorption Ministry's athlete department, said her office would offer Salita the same grants it affords Olympic athletes if he moves here.

Salita thanked Nefesh B'Nefesh "for the opportunity to visit Israel and, ideally, I guess to move here."

However, he said immigrating to Israel was not something he was "thinking of right now."

Back in Brooklyn, Salita is busy promoting a social project for Russian-speaking American Jewish youths, together with his rabbi, Zalman Liberow from the Chabad synagogue of Flatbush.

"This project gives teenagers something to do, it keeps them out of trouble," Salita said.

But some trouble is a crucial ingredient to the making of an excellent boxer, according to Salita. "It's probably true that good boxers come from a background of some adversity, and this also applies to my case," he said. "You need a kind of hunger. You don't see too many boxers from middle class homes."

Perhaps this is why Jewish boxers are today seen in America as "an oxymoron," as Salita puts it.

One question at the press conference, more than all others, grabbed the attention of Alona Salita. It pertained to how his recent marriage to her has affected his boxing.

"A professional athlete career takes a toll on marriage," he said. "The personal steps I make now are more measured."

Alona said she thought the question was very good, but preferred not to say what she thought about the answer.

24 Kislev 5770
Photograph: Sasson Tiram
Post comment

1. yechei
dont write alla hu akbar
24 Kislev 5770
2. "Russian speaking American Jewish youths"
What a farce!!
There is only one description for the above "mixture"
Nowhere in the Torah is the word Yid or Jew mentioned.
Every "Jew" living outside of Israel is nothing more than a Israelite in exile or in captivity in a foreign Land.
If only we could internalise this fact, then all Jewish children in the Diaspora would be inspired to know their real identity.

Love for Israel
25 Kislev 5770
3. The problem is Al-lah
is shem Hashem and should be hyphenated. It means that Hashem is great, and he is indeed. We just wish that they wouldn't use it against us...
Every nion-Jew is obligated to believe in Hashem
25 Kislev 5770
4. Finding Hashem in Exile
It was in "exile" that Avraham Avinu first found his way to Hashem, and only afterward was he fit to enter the Land. So, too, are so many Jews, including refugees from the Zionist malaise, finding their way to Hashem thanks to Chabad shluchim all over the world.

And when we all enter the Land together with Moshiach, those who are now defiling the land (including and especially those holding Knesset and ministerial posts and high posts in the army which throws Jews out of their homes) will be the hewers of wood and drawers of water, whereas those who are on the true front lines fighting the klipos of assimilation and spreading Jewish pride will be the members of the Sanhedrin.

TThe one who, in his dotage, ran from his place of residence where he could make a difference to the fleshpots of the modern medine will be the court jester of the court of Melech HaMoshiach as opposed to the court jester of Shturem.org.
26 Kislev 5770
5. Final Redemption
The first step step towards the final redemption was certainly not made in exile (Not in Monsey or Berlin or Paris or Johannesburg or any other polluted place chutz LaAretz).
The first step towards the final Redemption was made when Avraham bought a cubit of Land for every Jew when he purchased the field of Machpelah.(Likutei Sichos vol 1 p44)
Please refrain from denigrating the millions of Jews who have since been gathered together in the Land which Avraham bought.

Love for Israel
26 Kislev 5770
6. Learn Chumash, Choni
Avraham Avinu was told by Hashem to move to Canaan. He did not discover Hashem while already in Canaan. That was the first step toward anything even resembling the Redemption because it was only AFTER Avraham accepted Hashem that he could even THINK to enter the land!

Besides, how dare you even speak of the cave which the government that you worship would give back in a second at the behest of its master Obama and its partner for peace Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas? It is we who know that our place is outside the Land who truly love it, and you, our hewers of wood and drawers of water who should be guarding it for us, who would give it up for a pot of beans as Esav did!

Now, all we have is a bunch of overpaid Sochnut and NBN bureaucrats telling people to move to EY because if they don't, it is the end of those cushy jobs abroad and a return to some low paying, no respect job in a ministry cubicle or bank desk in EY.
26 Kislev 5770