I Vant To Pump You Up

By Alex Suskind

Published September 02, 2009, issue of September 11, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former weightlifter, once said this about body fat and exercise: “It’s simple. If it jiggles, it’s fat.”

Effi Kivelevitz
COURTESY OF IAFBB
Effi Kivelevitz

For Effi Kivelevitz, extra adipose is one thing he does not have to worry about.

Kivelevitz was named the overall winner of the Israeli Amateur Federation of Bodybuilding’s Mr. Israel 2009 contest on August 22. He began entering bodybuilding competitions only two years ago.

Born and raised in the United States, Kivelevitz is a former yeshiva bokher who attended Jewish schools in Pennsylvania and in New York City.

“I wasn’t a very religious yeshiva bokher. I was observant — I studied for a few hours every day, [and] in the afternoon we had secular study,” Kivelevitz told the Forward.

Although he exercised regularly, Kivelevitz didn’t get into competitive bodybuilding until he met former Israeli Olympic bodybuilder Amit Sapir, who became Kivelevitz’s training partner and created a weightlifting and dieting program for the future Mr. Israel winner. (His workout plan for this year’s competition consisted of a strict diet as well as workouts of two and a half to three and a half hours, six days a week.)

Kivelevitz, who still prays daily and attends synagogue once a week, had this to say about the crossover between religion and weightlifting: “With religion, you have a structure in life, and I was able to translate that into my training…. It is the same way that when you are observant, you can’t eat certain foods… so I was used to those types of restrictions and I was able to translate it into getting ready for a show.”

The 34-year-old Kivelevitz is now hoping to compete in the United States. To keep up his winning ways, perhaps he can take note of more Schwarzenegger words of wisdom from an exchange in the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian.” When the Mongol General asks: “What is best in life?” Conan responds: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.