(RNS) Dovid Green and his wife, Amy, are huge Aly Raisman fans. Orthodox Jews, they appreciate the pride the world-class gymnast takes in her Jewishness.
Watching the Olympics, he joked that if Raisman continued to win at the games, they should commemorate her achievements with a distinctly Jewish flavor: by sponsoring a kiddush.
The ritual, which synagogues and temples host after Saturday morning services, sanctifies the day (that’s what kiddush means) through food and drink, including a blessing over wine. Family or friends can sponsor a kiddush in a loved one’s honor, often for the anniversary of a death, a birthday or a professional milestone. A gold and two silver medals, evidently, also qualify.
“What better way to pay tribute and show that the Jewish world is proud of her?” said Green, a clinical psychologist in New York. “So I posted on Facebook, half for fun and half to gauge interest, and it picked up super quick.”
Green, who has been trying to reach Raisman’s family both directly and through a publicist, says he’s likely already secured enough co-sponsors -- he estimates some three or four dozen so far -- to pay for two kiddushes. He thinks there’s already about $1,000 in the coffers, and he has just posted a “Kiddush for Aly!” fundraising page on generosity.com.
With the Raisman family’s blessing, Green hopes to sponsor the kiddush at a synagogue of its choosing. And his plan is to donate the excess to either a charity that Raisman names, or another appropriate organization, such as Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America or the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.
“We don’t want to spend $10,000 on a kiddush,” he said.
There is also, it turns out, a New England connection. Raisman is from Needham, Mass., and Green hails from nearby Newton.
“I actually wanted to do something like this for Bob Kraft’s shul (synagogue) when the Patriots won the Super Bowl" in 2015, Green said. “But I know there are a lot of Pats haters out there. I figured everyone could get behind Aly.”