Israeli Hoops Star Finds Relief on Court

No Worries About Home When Naama Shafir's Playing Ball

By Elliot Olshansky

Published December 01, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

When Naama Shafir takes the court for the University of Toledo, there’s an unquestionable sense of relief.

courtesy of university of toledo

It helps that her team is on a winning and that Shafir is averaging 10.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists per contest. And for Shafir, a native of Hoshaya, Israel, being back on the court at all is a thrill after a knee injury wiped out her senior season.

“All the hard work and rehab all pay off,” said Shafir, who is believed to be the first Orthodox Jewish woman to earn an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. “I feel really good, and it’s really nice to be able to play, and not just watch from the bench.”

As a three-time All-Metro Athletic Conference selection who was the MVP of the 2011 Women’s National Invitational Tournament, Shafir was already an outstanding player for Toledo and head coach Tricia Cullop. However, as Shafir gives her senior season another shot on a medical redshirt, Cullop is seeing significant improvement in her star point guard.

“She’s had a chance to really study all of her teammates and learn where they want the ball, where they’re more capable of scoring from,” Cullop said. “Not that she didn’t know it before, but I think she understands each one of the offenses that we’re running a little more because she had to watch them all last year.”

Lately, Cullop has even more reason to be impressed. With the recent hostilities in Israel, being on the opposite side of the globe from friends and family hasn’t been easy. However, Shafir has shown great poise and concentration in leading the Rockets on the court, showing few if any adverse effects from the stress.

“I’m extremely impressed,” Cullop said, “because I know it has to be something that is difficult to digest, but I do feel that she’s been very mature in how she’s handled it.”

It helps, of course, that Shafir has been able to stay in close contact with her family, who have been out of harm’s way.


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!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • 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.