Ping Pong Prodigy Won’t Play on Shabbat
Estee Ackerman, an 11-year-old table tennis star, was disqualified from the national finals when her match fell on Friday evening and she chose not to play, the New York Post reported.
“I practiced and trained for six months for this,” the sixth-grader from West Hempstead, L.I. told the paper “Ping pong is important to me, but my religion of Judaism is also very important to me.”
Estee is currently the nation’s No. 4 ranked player in the 8-to-11 age bracket.
“She had a Shabbos-over-sports moment,” her father, Glenn Ackerman, a funeral home director, told the paper.
Neither father nor daughter blame USA Table Tennis, the sport’s governing body, because nearly 800 players were playing in the five-day event in Las Vegas last month.
The pull-out did not affect Estee’s ranking and she is still considering an intensive trip to China to hone her ping pong skills.
The story is reminiscent of that of Naomi Kutin, a New Jersey weightlifter who refuses to compete on shabbat. She lifts twice her weight and is considered by many to be the strongest girl in the world.