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July 14, 2016 7:38 am

Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

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Golfer Laetitia Beck will represent Israel at the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Golfer Laetitia Beck will represent Israel at the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Pro golfer Laetitia Beck said she is honored to have been selected to represent Israel at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil largely because of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust.

“Everywhere I go, I want people to know where I’m from, my background and where my family came from because of the struggle they had to go through,” she told the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). “Every week when I play and I see the Israeli flag, it brings me a lot of pride and I think it’s because of what my grandparents had to go through. Not just them but everybody during World War II and the Holocaust. That brings me anger but what I’m trying to do is bring the anger and do something meaningful.”

Beck, 24, was born in Belgium to a traditional family that observed Shabbat and kept kosher. She said, “For me, it’s very important for people to know first that I am Jewish and that I come from Israel, and then next that I am a golfer.”

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Beck moved with her family from Europe to the coastal Israeli town of Caesarea when she was 6. The Caesarea Golf Club, Israel’s only 18-hole golf course, was walking distance from their home, and Beck would practice at the club every day after school. She dabbled in various other sports at the time, but when she was 12, a coach at the club noticed her golfing skills and suggested she compete in the Israeli Open Golf Championship. She ended up winning the competition, and soon afterwards dropped all other sports. At the age of 14, she moved to the US and eventually studied at Duke University.

A two-time golf gold medalist (2009, 2013) at the Maccabiah Games, and five-time Israeli Open winner, Beck said she loves meeting different people and teaching them about her religion and race. The golfer called the Olympics the “biggest stage” yet for her, adding, “Hopefully, when it comes, I’m not going to be too nervous.”

Beck will walk with Team Israel at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, an experience she said she’s looking forward to.

“That’s a very important part for me. Just being with the team and standing with the Israeli flag when they announce it,” she said. “I don’t think I should carry it right now but in the future, I hope so. I’m so motivated when I see the flag. It brings me a huge smile…that’s a big reason why I do what I do. I want to do something to bring them [her grandparents] pride. I didn’t have to go through what they had to go through. I’m lucky to be where I am. I want to show people where I come from and what they had to go through.”

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  • Stuart

    Bless you, Laetitia, we are all so proud of you.

  • Mort Gantman

    These responses are what I love most about the Jewish faith:

    One topic—100s of opinions!!

  • Just Goes to Show. The World Entire was not all lost. Though 6,000,000 Universes have perished, it is indeed remarkable that much can still emerge from the Horror, the Catastrophe, The Holocaust.

  • In talking about someone’s Jewish practices, why focus on and limit the discussion to holiday observance and kashrut? Why not mention important Jewish characteristics like honesty, being loving to one’s neighbor as oneself, respect, humility over pride, trying to make the world a better place in which to live, leading by example, avoiding covetousness, materialism, ostentation, and pretentiousness and being satisfied with what one has? This is what Judaism is all about; it’s not some ethnic group with arcane rituals and practices, as implied by citing holiday and kashrut observance and leaving it at that.

    • Michael

      Jay

      Why do you think that the long list of positive attributes is unique to Jews? Do you really believe that honesty, being loving to one’s neighbour as oneself, respect, humility over pride, trying to make the world a better place in which to live, leading by example, avoiding covetousness, materialism, ostentation, and pretentiousness and being satisfied with what one has is the essence of Judaism? I know some christians who would take issue with that.

      You believe that kashrut and shabbat observance are arcane rituals?

      You sir need to do some learning and studying. If only for the sake of your progeny who are almost certainly not going to be jews for many more generations. But you and your progeny are likely already lost as you do not seem to know what a Jew really is.

    • Rosa saposnic Chut

      You are completely right. We,jews, have very deep respect for life and the human been. Being or not kasher.

    • Mark

      Are you suggesting that “honesty, being loving to one’s neighbor, respect, humility, trying to make the world a better place…” is limited to Jews? I’m sure you’re not. In any case, the article doesn’t mention whether she keeps kosher or observes shabbat; it only says that her family did in Belgium.

    • Gregg Solomon

      Jay: Beautiful and a great point.

    • Rosa saposnic chut

      You are completely right. Observant or not ,kasher or not we, all the jews people ,have a big respect for life,for people and for God.

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