Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Goodman for passover

Tamir Goodman, the "Jewish Jordan" in the past and a religion soldier and aggressive marketing man of the green product in the present, is already counting the minutes to the Seder. In a special holiday interview he talks about the holiday's meaning, the situation of the team, the marketing and also about the chances to see him on the court. With God's help, of course

Written by: Tal Miller, Yediot Haifa


Strange, weird, impalpable. Any superlative that you will find will not be able to describe the wonderful story of Tamir Goodman.

Back in the previous century he was still leading "Talmudic High School" in Baltimore with over 35 ppg and about 15 assists, and was the last person we can remember that got an article in "Sport Illustrated" until Bar Refaeli's appearance.

The abysmal gap between that superstar which got the undying nickname "Jewish Jordan" and between the player that has less game time today than Tal Azulay might cause the viewers in the side to feel sorry for Goodman's sportive crash.

But the truth is that Goodman is the last one that needs to be sorry for. Despite the two minutes he has in all of Haifa's games this season together, Goodman is one of the busiest players in the team, if not the busiest. Alongside his for activity in all the practices, the man isn’t less than a thriving marketing machine that works day after day, hour after hour, using endless email lists and the dozens of summer camps he has in the US. All that for enhancing the prestige of the Heat across Uncle Sam's country and the rest of the Diaspora, in order to raise funds to the team and cause those people to operate in Israel and to give them a wide angle about what's going on here. So far Goodman gained amounts to the club that are estimated in about 100 thousand Shekels, without doubt the most efficient player in relation to his game time.

A night before the Passover Seder, which he will have with his family and Todd Golden in Haifa, we caught Goodman for a chat to absorb some holiday spirit and to hear about Passover meaning and its customs: "There are two special things that I like about Passover" tells Goodman in American Hebrew, while saying the words "Hakadosh Baruch Hu" (God almighty) and "Beezrat Hashem" (with God's help) once in 12-14 words. "The first is the Matzo issue. Bread symbolizes selfishness, and the Matzo symbolizes modesty, it's pure. In Passover we don’t only clean the leavened, but also our selfishness and ego so that we'll be better people and go in the path the God expects us to. The second this that I like is that God took us out of Egypt and brought to Israel, that is the best gift he gave us and we celebrate this gift".

I suppose it's pointless to ask if you read the Haggadah until the end

"Of course I do, it is our duty to remember the exodus, from slavery to freedom".

Which song in the Haggadah do you sympathize the most?

"My favourite one is Dayenu, because it's exactly like the song, God gave us so much good, and here we say to God: we thank you for all that you did, we appreciate it and all we want is to thank you again and again".

What is Tamir Goodman's Dayenu?

"I only try to get as close as I can to God, and only do the best I can for the world. I know what God expects from me on the court and off the court, he is the boss".

Explain this connection you have with Todd Golden

"I have a special connection with everybody, I love them all and I try to bring joy to all of them, to anyone I meet, but I do have something special with Jewish players that came from the US. I know how they feel, and I want to help them blend in here. God gave me the power to come and settle down here, and I want to see more players doing the same. That way they return to the US and tell good things about Israel and that’s the purpose".

It looks like you are the team's religion officer

"In Judaism it goes like this, every one has to use his skill to strengthen it. Anywhere I go I always try to be happy, act the way god wants me to, however in synagogue you will always see me acting the same way".

Any other player that would have sat on the bench for so long would have wanted to burn down the club. And you go and raise funds

"My pleasure is that through the skill that god gave me I try to keep in touch with people and strengthen the love for Israel. And so fat thank god it is working excellently. We had big success in the past year so far and all we think is about more people that we can bring the happiness of Judaism to them through basketball".

How did you get in this marketing field so strongly?

"I have been dealing with the marketing of the country for many years, but I always dreamed to not do it privately but combine it with basketball. Through Maccabi Haifa I managed to fulfil this dream. Jeff and I have the same vision, and when we met it was a real love at first sight, and I'm always in contact with them. I'm going to practice now and before that I'm meeting with a Jew that came here and has been sending emails to people around the world about the team. Anyone I can be in touch with about the team, I do it. So far, through my summer camps and the media and other factors, I have reached over 25,000 Jews.

What do you think about the team's situation now?

"Right now the spirit is back in the team, everyone is smiling, we are doing well and I believe that if we keep this unity we can reach our goals with god's help".

Do you also pray for the team to win the championship?

"I don’t ask god for specific things. I practice every day the best way I can, work hard, pray hard, and I am sure he will take us where we need to go. I could have never believed that my life will be the way it is. The injuries, the US, travelling back and forth. I know that there are good things in everything, and our power is that the Jew can always deal with the reality and move on".

Do you pray for some game time?

"I'm happy to go up and play when I have the chance. I work hard to be ready when they call me and I know that I will do anything to contribute in every minute I get".

Will you be looking for the Aficoman on the Seder night?

"No, but my daughter is waiting for it with god's help, talks about it, and my goal is to convince her to get some sleep before the Seder".

And yet, despite that you won't be looking for it, what Aficoman can we wish for Tamir Goodman?

"Only to continue and get closer to god and to keep feeling great with the family, the kids and everything. If I'm close to him, I don’t need anything else".

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