"NBA's Greatest Scorer to Visit Chief Rabbi Lau"
Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau is a tall man who brightens any room
with his Torah depth and stature. He is viewed as a someone who has achieved
wondrous feats! From surviving the Holocaust and continuing on the Rabbinic
dynasty that he hails from, to serving as the Chief Rabbi of Israel and
now Tel Avivhe remains a legendary figure to all of Jewry.
On the complete opposite spectrum stands the legendary Lakers Center,
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Born Ferdinand Lewis "Lew" Alcindor,
Jr., he had a prolific college and professional career, first winning
several successful NCAA championships at UCLA and then becoming the NBA's
all-time high scorer and one of the best basketball players of all time.
In 1971 Lew Alcindor converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem
To the naked eye it would seem that the only thing these two share in
common is that they are both luminous figures. And yet, these two menone
a Jew and another a Muslimare eagerly looking forward to meeting
one another this July in Israel!
The former NBA star is making a film about none other than World War
II, and will honor the final wish of his father. You see, Ferdinand L.
Alcindor Sr., had one dying wish. He requested that his son visit Israel
and meet the little boy that he personally rescued from Buchenwald and
who grew up to be a prominent Rabbi. This Rabbi is none other than Rabbi
Indeed, Rabbi Lau, who also serves as chairman of the Council of Yad
Vashem remarked, "the fact that such a famous basketball player,
and a Muslim, is about to attach himself to the Holocaust issue is very
exciting. I will certainly give my blessing to this initiative."
Rabbi Lau said he clearly remembers how an African American solider came
up to him during the liberation, picked him up, and told the residents
of the German city of Weimer: "Look at this sweet kid, he isn't even
eight yet. This was your enemy? He threatened the Third Reich? Yet he
is the one against whom you waged war, and murdered millions like him!"
As someone who grew up in Los Angeles and followed the Lakers, I*
never thought I'd see these two figures mentioned in the same sentencelet
alone meeting in The Holy Land! However, after reading about what Mr.
Abdul-Jabbar intends to do with his film and his visit, I look forward
to seeing these two legends of their respective fields work together towards
educating the world about the horrors of the Holocaust. Isn't life full
* Editor's note: Don't know (yet) who the original "I"
is. The text before editing and the photos came to us from the mother
of Big Mo.