July 12, 2012, - 4:09 pm
Who says Jews are weak?
Naomi Kutin shows that stereotype is just that. She’s presumably the strongest girl in the world and can lift twice her weight, even though she’s only in Sixth Grade. She’s just 10 years old and does not compete on the Jewish Sabbath. She’s beaten many people much older than her.
The strongest girl in the world is an Orthodox Jewish 10-year-old from Fair Lawn, N.J.
Naomi Kutin, a soon-to-be sixth-grader at the Yeshivat Noam day school in Paramus, can lift more than twice her own 99 pounds. In January she set a world record for women in her weight class (then 97 pounds), beating competitors decades older than her to squat 214.9 pounds at a meet in Corpus Christi, Texas. On the first Sunday in July, she established two regional records for her age group, with a 199.5-pound squat and a 209.4-pound deadlift.
But ask Naomi about her powerlifting prowess — unusual for a 10-year-old and virtually unheard of for an Orthodox girl — and she’ll just say this: “It’s kind of weird being stronger than an adult.”
Naomi, who is 4 feet 9 inches tall with a sturdy figure and a sandy blond pageboy haircut, practices lifting in the basement of her family’s two-story home, where a handwritten “No Fear” sign hangs next to a white porcelain mezuza. A recent practice session there provided a tableau of a Sunday afternoon in the life of an observant Jewish family surely like no other . . . .The Kutin family competes “raw” — that is, without supportive clothes.
When Naomi was 8 years old, her parents brought her to her first meet, in Clearfield, Pa. She lifted 148 pounds, setting her first national record. Today, her purple-painted bedroom is dotted with medals; a shelf of trophies overflows onto a pile of stuffed animals.
The Kutins are Modern Orthodox Jews — he [father, Ed Kutin] became religious as an adult, while she [mother, Neshama Kutin] converted from Christianity. They refrain from competing or practicing on the Sabbath. . . . At most two-day powerlifting meets, women and adolescents compete on Saturdays and men compete on Sundays. Because the Kutins won’t participate on the Sabbath, Naomi must lift at the Sunday meets, which are typically filled with muscle-bound, tattooed men. But she isn’t intimidated. “They are an unusual look for us,” Neshama Kutin said. “It’s not like you go to synagogue and see that.”
Very cool. Yasher Kochech [Hebrew for “May Your Strength Grow”], Naomi.
Reader Ari notes that she carries on in a long tradition of Jewish weightlifting champs, including Joe Greenstein. And the article notes another:
Scot Mendelson, who grew up in Brooklyn and lives in Glen Valley, Calif., holds several world records for bench pressing. In one competition, he lifted 1,030 pounds. Mendelson is the grandson of Morris Reif, the Jewish boxer known as the “Bronxville Bomber.”
So, anyone who buys into the old stereotype regarding weak Jews just isn’t paying attention. Or is only paying attention to the weak-minded liberal Jews who deign to speak and act for the rest of us, when they do not.
Tags: Ed Kutin, Jewish Sabbath, Jewish Weightlifters, Jews, Naomi Kutin, Neshama Kutin, Orthodox Jews, Paramus, powerlifting, Scot Mendelson, strong Jews, strongest girl in the world, video, world record, Yeshivat Noam