Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Legend of the Jewish Dwight Howard Grows

But Northwestern center Aaron Liberman just wants to play

Print Email
Aaron Liberman(NY2LASports)

Last we checked in with Aaron Liberman–the so-called Jewish Dwight Howard–we were advocating collective restraint from the unreasonable fervor that often accompanies Jewish athletes into the spotlight. In the past, such expectations have felled the hopes of fans waiting for the Tamir Goodmans and Jay Fiedlers to become the bona fide stars they did not become.

Thanks to humanity and the Times, which featured a profile on him over the weekend titled “Studying X’s, O’s and the Torah,” the bar for Liberman, who walked onto Northwestern University’s basketball team this season, will likely be just as irrationally high as it was for those who came before him.

Liberman chose Northwestern over Georgetown and Southern California, and made the team as a preferred walk-on, meaning he was recruited but not given a scholarship. The fact that there was an Orthodox community near campus factored into his decision. Through his parents, he connected with a Jewish chaplain, and now Liberman lives in the family’s basement.

“I try to stay away from the party scene,” Liberman said. “It’s not a very Jewish lifestyle.”

He then motioned to his big-screen television and PlayStation 3 and added, “These are a little more college.”

Northwestern has made arrangements so that he never has to fly on the Sabbath. He takes separate flights if necessary. The university is also designing special skullcaps for him that Under Armour, Northwestern’s apparel sponsor, is having made by a company called Klipped Kippahs.

What’s hilarious about this profile is that Liberman again and again says that would prefer to not be narrowly defined as a Jewish player and has a desire to keep a low profile. And yet, the story returns again and again to his biography and not his game. And then it ends with this:

He mentioned that he might have interest in playing professionally in Israel after college, but his next hurdle is learning Carmody’s complex Princeton offense. As he tries to master that, one thought comforts him.

“It’s not as complicated as the Torah,” Liberman said.

Earlier: Is This the Jewish Dwight Howard
Studying X’s, O’s and the Torah [NYT]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

As long as he doesn’t follow in the tradition of not scoring on the Sabbath.

What a gorges guy.

PhillipNagle says:

He is easy to spot. During the time out huddles he is the one the kipah. When I was in Israel this fall, there were many shops that sold kipot emplazened with college logos. I was able to find almost every Big Ten team except Nothwestern. Much to my disgust I even found kipot with Notre Dame insignia. Now maybe I will be able to find a kipah with insignia of my beloved Northwestern Wildcats (class of 65).


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Legend of the Jewish Dwight Howard Grows

But Northwestern center Aaron Liberman just wants to play

More on Tablet:

Klinghoffer at the Met

By Paul Berman — John Adams’s masterpiece is about an American Jew murdered by Palestinian terrorists, but the real opera is off stage