Yom Kippur a No Go for Young Golfer Laetitia Beck
by Levi Epstein
19 year old amateur golfer Laetitia Beck, a sophomore at Duke University in Durham NC announced that she would be declining a request to join this Saturday’s UNC Tar-Heels invitational contest, due to the fact that the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur conflicts with the scheduled competition. – The holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement when Jews congregate in the synagogue to fast and pray. In an interview Beck said “My Judaism is very important to me, and I keep all the other holidays. On Yom Kippur, no matter what, I have to fast.”
The tournament which is to be held at the university of North Carolina’s Finley Golf Course is a prominently celebrated event attended by 18 of the most notable schools around the country. The three-day, 54-hole competition includes 18 holes to be played each day.
Beck, a proud citizen of Israel was born in Belgium and emigrated to the holy land with her family when she was only 6 years old. In order to demonstrate her national pride, Beck sports the blue and white Magen David on her golfing apparel during each and every one of her matches. “When I play golf I’m very proud to represent Israel,” says Beck.
A highly accomplished young Golfer who originally began playing the sport at the early age of 9, Beck won her earliest national competition at the age of 12 when she came first at the Israeli Open Golf Tournament.
In 2010 Beck received a scholarship from Duke to play on the university’s golf squad the Blue Devils where she has admirably represented herself, quickly becoming a rising star
Her remarkable story, declining to play on this holy day, brings to mind other notable accounts of Jewish athletes,- such as Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Sandy Koufax,- who refused to throw in game one of the 1965 world series, due to the fact that it fell out on Yom Kippur.
Admired by Jews world wide for their courage and commitment to the faith, these athletes and others like them have shown pride in their heritage while in turn earning reverence and respect from their fans and colleagues.