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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

A spiritual force: Cowboys' Igor Olshansky takes a fierce pride in his Jewish faith

By Barry Horn



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) It is a good bet that in the 50 years Dallas Cowboys history has overlapped the 5,770 years of Jewish history, no player ever before uttered the word "Elokim" inside the team's training facility.

That streak ended last week when Igor Olshansky dropped the word in a discussion about his religious faith. Toweling off beads of sweat outside the weight room, where he had just finished inordinate repetitions with almost inhuman numbers of pounds, Olshansky mentioned Elokim.

It was a conversation stopper. Time for one more repetition.

"Elokim?"

"Elokim," Olshansky replied.

"Elokim" is the third Hebrew word in the Bible. It is repeated often throughout the Torah as well as Jewish prayer services. It means "G-d."

Olshansky, a 6-6, 315-pound run-stopping defensive end whom the Cowboys last spring imported as a free agent, doesn't claim to be an observant Jew.

But he is a proud Jew. The identical Stars of David tattooed along his massive clavicles bear witness. In a sports world with relatively few Jewish athletes, and fewer who talk openly about their religion, he has become a role model of sorts to Jewish children. That's what happened back in San Francisco, where he grew up, and in San Diego, where he played the last five seasons for the Chargers. Perhaps it will happen in Dallas someday as well.

"I am who I am," Olshansky said. "I am a Jew, a spiritual person who has my own personal relationship with G-d. I try to be a good person . . . and although I never chose to be a role model, I don't mind it."

For Rabbi Pinchas Lipner, dean of San Francisco's Orthodox Lisa Kampner Hebrew Academy, the Soviet-born Olshansky is not only a good Jew but a proper role model. Lipner was Olshansky's teacher.

"He's a mentsh," Lipner said, choosing a Yiddish word that roughly translates into a person of integrity and honor.

Olshansky attended the Hebrew Academy after his family immigrated to San Francisco in 1989.

His parents sent their 7-year-old Igor and sister Marina, seven years older, to the school not to learn about the religion they couldn't practice in the Soviet Union, but because it wasn't far from their apartment, it was relatively inexpensive and it offered scholarships to children of Soviet emigres.

It would prove to be a life-altering experience. Not only did Igor learn English while wearing a traditional skull cap — yarmulke — and tasseled fringes — tzitzis — under his shirt, he also prayed daily and studied Hebrew, the Bible and Jewish ethics. And most important of all, he met his future wife, Liya, a fellow Soviet emigrant there.

For many children, the transformation from the Soviet Union to the religious school was difficult. They left after a semester or two, as

Liya did. Igor stayed four years until he completed the eighth grade.

"I liked the school," Olshansky said. "It was all so new to me. I was really interested. I learned a lot."

UNUSUAL JOURNEY

Igor Olshansky, 27, is hardly the first Jew to play in the NFL, but he is the league's first Soviet-born player. It's a fact that he is proud of. It has been an interesting sojourn from Dnepropetrovsk, an industrial city of 1.2 million in Ukraine about 800 miles south of Moscow.

Both grandfathers — large, powerful men whom Igor knows only through family lore — fought with the Soviet army in World War II. His maternal grandfather is said to have been wounded 11 times.

His father, Yury, a solidly built butcher back in the Soviet Union, played basketball while in the Red army. His mother, Alexandra, was an accountant. Life wasn't horrible in the Soviet Union, but the Olshanskys were forever reminded they were Jewish and suffered indignities that included difficulties in job advancement.

It was during a trip to visit her sister in San Francisco in the mid-1980s that Alexandra Olshansky decided she had found a better place to raise her children. She had only to persuade her husband, content with the status quo, to leave everything behind.

In 1989, with the collapse of the Soviet Union imminent, the Olshanskys left their homeland. They went to Austria and then onto Italy, where they waited for the proper paperwork to immigrate to the United States.

By the time the family arrived in San Francisco, there was $500 left in savings and six suitcases filled with their life's possessions. They lived in the apartment of Igor's aunt. Yury eventually settled into a job in a chocolate factory. Alexandra found a job in a bank.

Basketball, taught by Yury, was Igor's first sport. Bigger and stronger than most others his age, Igor excelled playing mostly at the local Jewish Community Center.

Olshansky headed to the University of Oregon. He continued to add size and strength. He gained his first smidge of national attention with a stellar performance in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl against Colorado.

By the end of the 2003 season, Olshansky deemed himself ready for the NFL draft. His 4.9-second speed in the 40-yard dash combined with the ability to bench-press

505 pounds made him an intriguing candidate. When the scouts visited Oregon for the school's "Pro Day," Olshansky wowed them by bench-pressing the standard 225 pounds 43 times. No one had done that before.

The San Diego Chargers made Olshansky, who had a grand total of six years of experience, the third player selected in the second round, the 35th pick in the draft. Five springs and 70 NFL starts later, he signed a free-agent contract with the Cowboys.

Asked for a story about his athletic career, Olshansky relished talking about the struggle to set the bench-press record.

"I am an immigrant from the Soviet Union who has always worked hard," he said. "I have a no-quit attitude in everything I do. I put a lot of effort into that record. I thought I had something to prove."

FAMILY LIFE

Liya Rubinshteyn Olshansky scrambled around a local supermarket one day last week, hoping to make it home before her 20-month-old son, Lorance Lev, woke from his nap. He is the spitting image of Olshansky men, she said, "big and strong."

Liya, whose family emigrated from Latvia to San Francisco, guesses she has known her husband since they met at the Hebrew Academy when she was 8 or 9 years old. She knows they began dating when Igor asked her to be his girlfriend. She was 14 and he was 15.

They were married in a traditional Jewish ceremony in 2005. The video of friends struggling to lift the massive Olshansky overhead in a chair to meet his similarly raised wife at the center of a traditional dance is interesting.

"We have a lot of history together," said Liya, 26.

"I feel so blessed to be with him. He was then like he is now. He's very intelligent, cultured and very spiritual in his own way."

One item she knows she will never bring home from the supermarket is pork, a biblically forbidden food for Jews. She began an explanation of what observant Jews will and will not eat.

Back in San Francisco, Rabbi Lipner, who 40 years ago founded what he says remains the only Orthodox Jewish school in Northern California, added a final blessing

"An orthodox Jew, Igor is not," he said. "But I have to tell you, I have tremendous respect for him and the way he carries himself. You know, if you feel good about who you are, it helps with everything else in life. Igor feels good about himself."

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© 2009,Allas Morning News Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.