The Jewish Marathoner Who Will Miss the Olympics Rather Than Violate the Sanctity of Shabbat

In what seems like a real-life remake of the film Chariots of Fire—itself based on the true story of a devout Scottish Protestant sprinter who forewent an opportunity to compete in the 1924 Olympics because the qualifying race was held on Sunday—Beatie Deutsch, an Orthodox Jew and a mother of five, might miss her chance at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Akiva Shapiro writes:

Deutsch, now thirty, ran her first marathon in 2016, when she was a mother of four. A year later, she ran her second marathon while seven months pregnant. In 2018 Deutsch won a race for the first time and in 2019 she won the Israeli national marathon championships, with a finishing time of 2 hours, 42 minutes, 18 seconds—three minutes faster than the Olympic qualifying standard at the time. Along the way she has overcome severe anemia and dealt with celiac disease.

Deutsch doesn’t view her dedication to running as separate from her faith. “Our role in the world is to take the raw material God has given us and to use it to the fullest,” she says. “I have a talent for running.”

When the 2020 Olympics schedule was announced, the women’s marathon was scheduled for a Sunday, in line with historical practice. Later, . . . the event was moved to a Saturday. Deutsch requested that it be rescheduled for a different day. . . . So far her request has been denied. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected any consideration of an athlete’s religious observance and restrictions in scheduling its event.

Numerous considerations affect Olympic scheduling, so religious observance can’t be determinative in every instance. But the IOC should take an athlete’s faith-based restrictions into consideration and accommodate them when feasible. The Olympic charter lauds the practice of sport as a human right, to be guaranteed “without discrimination of any kind,” including on the basis of religion. Finding a reasonable accommodation would make that promise real.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Judaism, olympics, Shabbat, Sports

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University