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Audio: To Play or Not to Play: Shabbat or the International Tournament?

Dr. Reuven Dressler is a family practitioner and a member of the Israeli Lacrosse Team.
8/23/2013, 4:21 PM

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Reuven Dressler was an avid sportsman all through high school and college, even getting into Yale on the merit of his skills as a Lacrosse goalie. When he got to medical school, though, he had to buckle down and focus on his studies, and Lacrosse became a thing of the past.

Sparked by a friend to explore his Judaism, Reuven took off a year from med school and came to Israel on a WUJS program. He was hooked by what he saw, both in Israel and in Judaism. When he returned to the US, he decided he would try to keep the laws of the Torah.

Now an MD living in Maaleh Adumim and running a clinic in Jerusalem, Dr. Dressler has re-discovered his love for Lacrosse. He tried out for a newly forming Israeli team, but told them he could not play on Shabbat. "No games on Shabbat," he was told.

This philosophy was recently put to test when the women's Lacrosse team had to choose between participating in an international championship game, or not playing on Shabbat. Even though most of the team members do not see themselves as religious, they decided to forfeit the game on principle.

"Unfortunately, in many ways today's sports have become a monster," Reuven says. "Winning at all costs justifies everything. I think that our organization's respect for Jewish tradition makes a statement even above and beyond a Jewish statement. People have values, and values matter. We don't have to apologize for that. Winning is not everything. Certainly we are competitive and we want to do our best, but it's not winning at all costs."

To learn more about the Israeli Lacrosse teams, check this out: . Or tune in to hear more!

Judy Simon is the host of the show Life Lessons and the mother of six children. After almost 20 years of teaching English and special education, Judy now serves as the Beit El Tourism Coordinator, and organizes tours of the site of Jacob's Dream in Beit El. Check out Beit El's website: and "like" the Beit El Heritage Center Facebook page: To "like" the Hebrew page: Life Lessons explores fascinating people from all walks of life and follows their stories of lessons learned along the way. The Life Lessons podcast airs every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Israel National Radio.
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