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Taking pride in Goldberg's Jewish heritage

Oy! What's a nice Jewish boy like him doing in a place like this?

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story appeared in the Editorial/Opinion section of the Toronto Sun. Michael Taube is publisher/ editor of From The Right.

By MICHAEL TAUBE -- For the Toronto Sun
 An interesting event happened not long ago in, of all places, the square circle of professional wrestling.

On July 6, Bill Goldberg won the WCW world heavyweight title from Hulk Hogan on the Monday Nitro program on WTBS in Atlanta, Ga.

At first glance, I'm sure many of you are saying the same thing: "So? Your point?"

Oh, I've got one.

Bill Goldberg with his titles.

Here is a person who went to the University of Georgia, and played professional football for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League.

He is a big man at six-foot-four and 285 pounds, and is quite athletic in the ring. He has been wrestling for less than 10 months, and has already made quite a name for himself with both the wrestling organization and the fans.

In fact, the fans are always chanting "Goldberg, Goldberg" during his matches.

It's quite a sight to see, actually. Very similar to the way people used to cheer Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s.

But here's the kicker. All of these WCW fans - black and white, male and female, of different religions are chanting and cheering for a person with a distinctively Jewish-sounding name, although one wonders if the same reaction would have happened had his name been Rosenblum or Bronfman.

But that's another story.

Make no mistake about it: Goldberg, the son of a retired gynecologist and former violinist, is Jewish, and proud of it.

As he told writer Blake Eskin of the U.S. publication The Jewish Weekly Forward, "I'm thinking of requesting the Star of David on my trunks, so I could be a more visible presence."

Now, there has been a long and storied history of Jewish professional wrestlers over the years.

Goldberg is not the only Jew in WCW. He mentions the names of Raven (Scott Levy), Dean Malenko (Dean Simon) and the more obvious Barry Horowitz. In his view, the Jewish wrestlers "have a little bond" that is often expressed through their knowledge of "dirty words. You know, Yiddish."

And he relishes in playing his new-found role to the hilt. In fact, a recent issue of the WCW magazine mentions Goldberg's bar mitzvah and even quotes him as saying: "I'm not the 'stereotypical Jewish person.' When you hear a guy named Goldberg, you think of someone working behind a desk investing your money or something."

As for anti-Semitism, he has never heard a bad comment hurled his way. Then again, would you dare to make a racist comment to someone who could throw you halfway across a room with no effort? I think not.

However, just in case anyone was thinking about it, Goldberg told Forward that he would go into the crowd after anyone like that, stating that the organization "pays us a lot to wrestle, but they don't pay us to listen to that."

You have to give the new wrestling champion of the world a lot of credit. He has a good attitude about life, solid credentials about tackling stereotypes and an unusual amount of respect for the traditions of his religion.

Goldberg wants the world to know how he was brought up, but to see him as a person rather than a novelty item.

So far, people seem to be infatuated with the aura that he projects. One hopes this will continue for many years.

Now, I guess there are still a few of you who are saying, "I still don't see the point you are making."

Allow me to summarize. I find it pleasant that in a utopian setting such as professional wrestling, a fake sport produced solely for entertainment value, we can all get along and chant the name of a champion who is proud of his Jewish heritage.

It makes me feel that society is becoming more tolerant as the years go along. We should all be pleased about that.

More on Goldberg