Suburban Boston Jews, For the Win!

Aly Raisman, the 18-year-old gymnastic phenom from Needham, made it to the Olympics.


She qualified for a shot at the all-around individual gold medal.


She did it by performing a stunning floor routine to, of all songs, Hava Negila.

I’d say “dayenu” again, but come on, that’s just not fair. It’d be one thing if Raisman had just shocked the entire gymnastics world by beating out her world champion teammate Jordyn Wieber, but to do it to a song that not only set off manic bouts of kvelling from Brookline to Needham to Sharon, but earned the attention of even newspapers in Israel, uch, Aly!

Watch for yourself:


Haaeretz references a year-old Jewish Telegraphic Agency story where she talks about the song selection:

The coaches and Raisman’s mother selected “Hava Nagila” after several exhaustive late-night online searches.

Raisman, a recipient of the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Female Jewish High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award given out by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in New York, says she is proud to be using the Jewish song “because there aren’t too many Jewish elites out there.”

Thanks to Raisman, the old leaflet looks like it’s about to get a little thicker. Really, now that Kevin Youkilis has been shipped out of town, she may be the Boston area’s only world-class Jewish athlete. (Yes, this matters, thank you.)

If there’s one thing that could outshine Raisman’s accomplishment, though, it’s the performance of her parents in the stands. Thank goodness NBC was smart enough to train a camera on them while they watched their daughter, because—and take it from a veteran of Newton youth soccer, basketball, and baseball—this is pretty much the apotheosis of suburban Boston Jewish sports parent behavior. A form perfected, no less than that of their daughter’s. Enjoy.