Among the guests at the White House’s Hanukkah party were Jewish boxer Dmitry Salita and his trainer Jimmy O’Pharrow.
“It was very exciting, a great holiday gift,” the undefeated, Odessa-born, New York-raised pugilist told the Shmooze.
After an hour or two of drinking and mingling, Salita said, he and O’Pharrow were called into the separate room where “you meet the president, you take your picture, and then the next person comes in to take their picture.” During their minute-long chat, the president asked Salita how his boxing career was going and pressed O’Pharrow on whether the fighter was training hard.
Salita said the highlight of the night came at 8 p.m., when all the religious Jews gathered to recite the evening Ma’ariv service together. “The fact that there’s kosher food served in the White House, there’s Ma’ariv happening in the White House, it’s absolutely a tremendous thing.”
As for that kosher food, Salita gave it the thumbs up, especially the sushi (his “favorite”). And dessert, he said, was also divine: chocolate cake, Hanukkah cookies, fruits and chocolate.
Salita laughed when asked whether such treats fit into his training diet. “Only while I’m in the White House.”