Religion News: Aly Raisman wins the gold with 'Hava Nagila'

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Aly Raisman, captain of The Fab Five, was the last competitor in the last obstacle standing between them and gold: the floor exercise.

As a familiar musical tune sounded throughout the arena, the audience clapped along with the cheery, traditional melody, supporting and encouraging the 18-year-old with shouts and smiles.

And, as we all know, Raisman nailed it, delivering “75 nearly flawless seconds” of performance, says TheLedger.com, and sealing her team’s place in first for the all-around women’s gymnastics at the 2012 London Olympics.

Wait a minute –– familiar music? Traditional melody?

As it turns out, Raisman, who is Jewish, chose the traditional Jewish song “Hava Nagila” to accompany her Olympic floor routine and help her win the gold.

“I like how the crowd can clap to it,” Raisman told Haaretz.com, which reports on Jewish news.

According to the website, she also said she is proud to be using the Jewish song “because there aren’t too many Jewish elites out there.”

“It’s a huge honor to be the first Jewish gold medalist of the 2012 (London) Games,” Raisman told NationalReview.com.

Haaretz reports that the teenager from Needham, Mass., won the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Female Jewish High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, which is given out by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in New York.

However, even more important to Raisman than the Jewish connotations the song has, says Haaretz, is how she says it inspires audience participation.

Coincidentally, a documentary film called “Hava Nagila” is set to premiere on Aug. 2 at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The film, which opens the festival, was created by Roberta Grossman, who was raised in Los Angeles and went to University of California, Berkeley.

“’Hava Nagila’ is more than a song. It's an entire constellation of experiences across cultural divides,” said Grossman, according to SFGate.com.

Week in Religion

Aug. 1, 1979, following her graduation from rabbinical college in Philadelphia, Linda Joy Holtzman was appointed spiritual leader of the Conservative Beth Israel congregation in Coatesville, Pa., making her the first female rabbi to head a Jewish congregation in America.

Aug. 2, 1776, English founder of Methodism John Wesley wrote in a letter: "Use all the ability which God gives, and He will give you more."

Aug. 3, 1902, birth of Martin Noth, German Lutheran Old Testament scholar. His researches concentrated on the "history-of-traditions" approach to analyzing and understanding the Old Testament writings.

-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church

Survey Says

According to a nationwide survey of Asian Americans conducted by the Pew Research Center, Christians are the largest religious group among U.S. Asian adults (42 percent), and the unaffiliated are second (26 percent). Buddhists are third, accounting for about one-in-seven Asian Americans (14 percent), followed by Hindus (10 percent), Muslims (4 percent) and Sikhs (1 percent).

Good Book?

"Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" by Lysa TerKeurst

God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it! Lysa TerKeurst admits that she, like most women, has had experiences where others bump into her happy and she comes emotionally unglued. We stuff, we explode, or we react somewhere in between. What do we do with these raw emotions? Is it really possible to make emotions work for us instead of against us? Yes, and in her usual inspiring and practical way, Lysa will show you how.

-- Zondervan

Quote of the week

"My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." -- Abraham Lincoln

The Word

rinpoche: Pronounced “RAHN-poh-shay.” Literally “precious one,” rinpoche is a title of respect for a Buddhist teacher, often signaling one considered to be an incarnate lama. The title of rinpoche generally follows a name, but practice varies, especially in the United States.

-- religionstylebook.com

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Philippines (2000 census)

Catholic: 82.9 percent

Muslim: 5 percent

Evangelical: 2.8 percent

Iglesia ni Kristo: 2.3 percnet

Other Christian: 4.5 percent

Other: 1.8 percent

Unspecified: 0.6 percent

None: 0.1 percent

- CIA Factbook