A Maccabiah First: Putting the Yeshiva community on the map and mat

Moshe Klyman’s road to the 20th Maccabiah Games has spanned 18 years, two countries and one major obstacle after another. Since learning about the Jewish Olympic Games in high school, Moshe has longed for the chance to wrestle for his country and take home a gold medal in Israel.

Yet, while Moshe is about to realize his athletic dream, he knows that his presence at the Games holds an even stronger significance than a legitimate medal hope for Canada. Once he steps on the mat in Be’er Sheva, Moshe will become the first person to have grown up in a Yeshiva and compete in the Maccabiah Games.

“I will have the unique opportunity to represent not only Judaism, the entire Yeshiva community and my country as well,” said Moshe. “It’s very exciting.”

Growing up in a Yeshiva, his journey to become a professional wrestler was made all the more challenging by having to balance his love of wrestling with his love of religious study. This struggle was compounded after suffering a career-threatening injury.

“In my senior year at Rutgers, I suffered a severe spinal injury that forced me to essentially relearn how to walk, let alone wrestle,” he recalled.

Having fully recovered, Moshe graduated in 2009 with a degree in Sports Management, and since found a perfect balance between wrestling and faith.

Currently, he owns and operates his own strength and performance gym, where as a personal trainer, he shares his wrestling and bodybuilding expertise with young Yeshiva wrestlers. He is a firm believer that the individual aspect of the sport builds both physical and mental strength for the athletes.

“That’s my coaching point of view. It’s not about if you win or lose, rather it’s about what you take away from your match,” he said. “There are no pointing fingers in wrestling. If you win, it’s on you. If you lose, it’s on you.”

Moshe says this is the mentality that he’ll be taking to the mat while gunning for gold.

At 30 years old, he believes that his experience and hybrid wrestling style, with the speed of a featherweight and the strength of a heavyweight, will give him the competitive edge he needs to give some of the world’s top wrestlers a true challenge.

The proud father of two young boys, Moshe credits his wife, Renee, for her unconditional support as he prepares for the Maccabiah Games at various top-tier training facilities around the Tri-State Area.

Competition aside, Moshe is planning on catching Canada’s athletes compete in both track and field and gymnastic events.  Above all, he is looking forward to visiting family, and experiencing how Israel has changed since his last visit a decade ago.