Aly Raisman honored for her Jewish faith
MIAMI (WHDH) -- Gold-medal winning gymnast and Needham native Aly Raisman was honored Wednesday for being a champion of her faith.
“It’s still just so amazing that I was just a little girl with a dream and all my dreams came true,” said Raisman.
Raisman, 18, was honored by WIZO, the Women’s International Zion Organization, in South Florida after gaining international fame for winning numerous medals at the London Olympics.
WIZO helps out thousands of Israeli children.
“We’re very proud, especially because people don’t realize that all over the world when you want to think of Jewish song -- it doesn’t matter how Jewish you are -- you hear ‘Hava Nagila,’” said Jana Falic, the president of WIZO. “It’s totally the song they recognize.”
‘Hava Nagila’ was the song Raisman chose for her floor routine during the London Olympics, which won her the gold medal.
“It was so exciting to perform it. It gave me such an adrenaline rush and it was just so exciting to be able to represent my Jewish heritage,” said Raisman.
‘Hava Nagila,’ a traditional Jewish song means ‘Let’s rejoice, let’s rejoice’ when translated.
Raisman’s stance as a proud person of the Jewish faith has resonated across the globe.
“I was talking to our Rabi back home and he had shared a letter that he got from a woman whose mother was a holocaust survivor and she was watching the Olympics and she had no idea that Aly was performing. When she did perform her floor routine to ‘Hava Nagila’ she said ‘Oh my gosh I never thought in my lifetime I would see a Jewish girl performing at the Olympics to ‘Hava Nagila’,’” said Lynn Raisman, Aly’s mother.
After winning the gold, Raisman proudly said she would have been for a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli Olympians who were murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics. This one statement at an Olympics where there was no moment of silence for those Israeli’s thrust Raisman into the hearts and souls of those of the Jewish faith.
“Being Jewish and having accomplished that at the Olympics it means more than words can describe. It means so much to me,” said Raisman.