Like Sandy Koufax, the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who famously refused to play in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, Beck, a Duke University sophomore from Israel and rising star on Blue Devils golf team, opted out of Saturday's Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Instead, she spent the Day of Atonement fasting and praying at the nearby Chabad-Lubavitch at Duke University.
"I chose not to play because it's one of the most important holidays," explained 19-year-old Beck of her decision. "I keep kosher, my Judaism is very important to me, and I keep all the other holidays. On Yom Kippur, no matter what, I have to fast."
Skipping one of the three rounds cost Beck a spot in the top 30. The technical forfeit made her dead last in a field of 96 college golfers. Duke finished 10th but would have done better had she played on Yom Kippur.
Beck, whose family moved from Belgium to Israel when she was six years old, is familiar with resolve and determination. She says she tried to keep kosher at the IMG Sports Academy in Bardenton, Florida, where she trained from age 14. "I just ate the vegetarian option like pasta or pizza and fish. But some of the tournaments don't have any vegetarian options like pasta or rice, so it can be kind of a challenge, but I'm pretty used to it by now."
"That she chooses to use the limelight to unabashedly present Israel in the most stellar of light and carries her Jewishness and identity in the forefront is really exemplary and refreshing," said Rabbi Zalman Bluming, director of the Chabad House.
(The full version of this article originally appeared on chabad.org. Steve Klein contributed to this article. )
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