My short bio: I'm AJ Edelman, a national skeleton athlete of Israel, also known as the Hebrew Hammer. I race almost 90mph on a "lunch tray with hockey blades" down a 1 mile bobsled track, in a suit which is too tight even by Miley Cyrus standards.

My personal mission is to inspire other Israelis/Jews to participate in sport, and act as an ambassador for our community, people, and homeland. I hope that by raising the profile of my journey, I can parlay that success into establishing a sports foundation to benefit athletes from communities which do not invest or place an emphasis on athletic excellence.

Fun fact: I am a former college ice hockey goalie and NGA Natural bodybuilder. I'm also an avid Otaku, and love all things tech and anime. My helmet features Lelouch (Geass), Hatsune Miku, Goku (SSJ3 form from DBZ), and Setsuna (Gundam 00), alongside Theodore Herzl. I also work full time as a Product Manager at Oracle. I train in Calgary, Canada, and Park City, Utah, and my travels have taken me all over the world. I have flown almost 200k miles this past year.

Shameless plug: My seasons cost $40,000 and I fund everything myself, from travel, to coaching, to equipment. To support my season i've launched a tax-deductible indiegogo campaign. Please consider sharing it or getting involved. ( )

A bit about me:

  • Every day I post recaps of the training and goals on my snapchat: hgeek23, and sometimes on my fb,

My Proof:,

Comments: 115 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

aurthurallan10 karma

Who is your favorite Jewish athlete? Who inspired you?

israelskeleton7 karma

aly raisman! She's an inspiration as a Jewish medalist. She really encompasses what I'm trying to accomplish and she's inspired other athletes to strive for athletic excellence even coming from communities which do not have much of an emphasis on sports.

aurthurallan2 karma

I guess my first thought when I considered the subject "Jewish athlete" was the fictional character Robert Cohn from The Sun Also Rises. Any other non-fictional Jewish Athletes I should know about?

Troppin8 karma

Ask the stewardess for some light reading. They usually have a pamphlet about Jewish athletes.

israelskeleton1 karma

I actually link to that clip on my indiegogo page ;)

Troppin1 karma

Do you speak Jive?

israelskeleton2 karma

"...leg 'er down a smack 'em yak 'em!"

naimnotname2 karma

What about Goldberg?

israelskeleton1 karma

Master of the knucklepuck? Or the wrestler?

naimnotname1 karma

I don't think I know what a knucklepuck is.

CopperBurnsGreen6 karma

Aren't you afraid of flying off and exploding in a horrible death?

israelskeleton10 karma

"If I am going to live, I want to live fully. Very intensely, because I am an intense person. It would ruin my life if I had to live partially."

--Ayrton Senna

skootchtheclock2 karma

---Michael Scott

israelskeleton3 karma

I'm just waiting for a "that's what she said" opportunity

herzing955 karma

The Hebrew Hammer! ha what an awesome name.

anyway... 1. what makes skeleton a sport? I'm sure there is more to it, but from the outside it just looks like you lay on a sled and go, and you can't really control the outcome of your run. So what do you do to go faster, control the sled, etc?

  1. How do you train for skeleton?

  2. How did you get into the sport? It's not exactly the type of thing you just start doing in high school or something. at least that isn't how it is where i am at.

israelskeleton6 karma

Skeleton is one of the most athletic sports I can think of-- It starts with a make-or-break 50m sprint. For every .1 seconds slower you are at the 'push' you're .2-.3 behind on your run. You then have to transition from an all-out sprint, moving your hands into position on the sled and drive forward into it. Assuming you are in the sled, in the next few seconds you have to calm down enough to race the next 50 seconds. If you are tense you're finished. At 5+ G-forces and close to 90mph, the oscillations in curves can get out of control if not handled correctly. The way to maintain your lines is with subtle movements of your head, or minute pressures on your shoulders and knees. This is all done in fractions of fractions of a second. You have to withstand significant G forces all while maintaining a presence of mind to understand what forces are pushing and pulling you.

Training: In the off-season Lots of cleans and snatches--Olympic lifts to promote explosive movement. Because there's no ice on the tracks we can really only practice to better our physical abilities and the aforementioned sprint. In the video above (90s) you can see me pushing a practice sled. There are two facilities in north America that you can do this at, Lake Placid, and Park City. So my off-season is all about getting that sprint up. on-season you got to take runs. There's no replacement for being on-ice. Learning to relax and seeing what does and doesn't work.

  1. I got into the sport at the tail end of my hockey career. I was invited to a drivers' school at the US Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, after submitting my athletic resume to the US Skeleton Program. At the same time I was talking to Bobsled/Skeleton Israel and decided that if the sport seemed a good fit, I would represent my homeland, for which I was considering Aliya (becoming a citizen) at the time. The camp went well and I fell in love with the sport.

Depending on where you live, you can find ways to try out skeleton/bobsled with local federations. Calgary has "Alberta Skeleton", the US has the US Bobsled/Skeleton Federation, etc.

Are you interested in trying the sport?

poohster33-5 karma

Technically it's a skill competition, not a sport.

israelskeleton7 karma

What makes skeleton any less of a sport than track and field (sprinting)?

errorlypse5 karma

Is it bad that I laughed at that title?

israelskeleton7 karma

Jews are funny, what can I say?

hst20154 karma

How does your father feel about your racing?

israelskeleton3 karma

He once said he'd support me in anything I did. Don't know if that still holds true. Pretty sure he prefers it over Formula 1, though.

hst_rando4 karma

Lol, did you know your dad is a boss? When I asked how one decides to get into skeleton racing, he said "you look for whatever would scare the crap out of your father the most"

israelskeleton3 karma

Dad runs an intensive care unit, I think he's got me beat.

survivalsnake4 karma

  1. What are the differences between skeleton and luge? Did you try both sports before deciding on skeleton?
  2. A lot of regular people are turning their backs on hosting the Olympics because of cost/corruption/IOC issues. How do you feel about the Olympics as someone trying to qualify for the next one?
  3. Worst injury you've ever had?

israelskeleton3 karma

  1. Luge is slightly faster, and measured in 1/1000s of a second instead of 1/100ths. Luge athletes generally start younger than skeleton athletes. I have been told that like pianists they require more of a "feel" that is best developed at a young age. I am not positive on that, it is just what i've been told. Luge is feet-first as opposed to head-first. As I was 22 when I began skeleton, I did not try luge. Many of the luge athletes i know started at 11 or even younger.

  2. The Olympics for me are an ideal, a goal, and a platform. To be the best I can be at what I am trying to achieve is the ideal. To inspire other Jews to participate in sport and represent my homeland is my goal. The Olympics, being the highest profile sporting event, is the platform that would best inspire people as I'd like. Therefore, my goals are separate from any considerations to the organization and running of the Olympics themselves. I firmly believe that athletes compete as representatives of themselves and their communities. As an athlete I am not defined by the specific race or competition I enter, I am defined by how proudly I represent what I am representing. The Olympics for me is not how I want to be defined if I ever qualify, and so I don't give much thought to the administration of the event. Besides, there is still so much more to achieve--I have so much more to grow as an athlete. I cannot be presumptuous enough to assume that I will ever make it. It is simply the goal.

  3. Worst injury i've ever had:

  • Skeleton: Early on in my season I was getting knocked around really hard. I hit every wall imaginable, and I nearly tore ligaments in my leg. For days the area was so inflamed that I could barely walk without extreme pain.

  • Hockey--we had a defenseman who was a football linebacker as well. He was huge. one practice he didn't stop in time and while in my butterfly he knocked me over, as my left leg was pinned underneath him my body bent over unnaturally backwards. I tore my mcl.

stack_overpriced3 karma

How do you feel about representing a state that objectively does very little to promote athletes?
As an Israeli, I'm very much aware of the growing criticism about the lack of state funding - as you stated you yourself are self-funded. what do you think is the best route to increase support for national athletes? especially in the winter sports that are grossly misrepresented in Israel.

anyhow, good luck with your journey!

israelskeleton3 karma

I love representing the White and Blue. It is the honor of my life, and it is my life's mission to promote that ideal with more Jews. I think the best way to get more attention and funding in sports in Israel is to increase the participation of Israelis. The reason funding is low is because sports are not a major priority. If there is more of a critical mass of Israelis who think that pursuing sports at a high level is important, then there will be renewed focus and investment in sports. "If you don't use it, you lose it" would apply here.

It is something I want to help change. I think Jews and Israelis don't think sports are "their calling", or that they would excel in these areas. There's no reason that that would be the case. Let's change it!

Lirdon2 karma

The thing is that professional athletes need some way to survive. Only recently news came up of an olympian medalist is leaving Israel because he can no longer support himself.

We have a lot if potential, but sports is not a priority both in education and in funding. What parent will pay a lot of his own money for training camps, competitions and such if in the long run his kid might not be able to make a living?

So in my mind this thing is a mutual relationship, if there will be a lot of good athletes, people will fund sports, but if there is no funding, few people will choose sports as a profession. So we need is to support sports education until it will reach a critical mass where it is just a natural part of our culture.

EDIT: a word.

israelskeleton0 karma

Good input, Lirdon!

stack_overpriced2 karma

I know its become cliché at this point, but your'e the athlete we need, not the one we deserve :)

Giancarlo273 karma

How is your hebrew? did you participate in an ulpan upon aliyah?

israelskeleton2 karma

Achshav, Ani rak Amerikai. Achar haOna haba, ani eh-ese Aliya. as of right now I am still just American. After this coming season I will likely finalize my Aliya.

I went to Maimonides school in Brookline, MA, where I did years of Hebrew classes. I am proficient.

djallenb2 karma

I heard you are fantastic at writing poems, can you make one about this AMA?

israelskeleton2 karma

i will surely take a stab, with my gift of gab,

and craft you a poem, very far from drab.

You see,

There is often but one choice for someone like me,

to contribute to this largely illiterate society.

And because I have a goal, lofty and full,

that I sit here and ponder--"how to express it?" I do mull.

So an AMA I decided to begin,

And was ready with answers, and very thick skin,

The questions posed by men of great skill

have challenged me greatly, as I search for responses still

To the Reddit community I say "Ask Me Anything"

And do my best to reply, never resenting or wavering.

eqian2 karma

I read on wikipedia that the person on the sled can experience up to 5g. What goes through your mind when you go down the hill?

israelskeleton0 karma

See above on the roller coaster :)

My mind used to race and go "oh crap" before many turns. "what do i do? remember!". Now I am quite a bit calmer, visualizing what's in front of me. I still have work to do on being even calmer.

george_likes2 karma

This is really weird - I saw your brother at the Edinburgh Fringe a few days back so I googled your name out of curiosity after the show. Is it true you have no neck?

israelskeleton1 karma

I hope that wasn't his funniest joke?

israelskeleton1 karma

If I didn't have a neck how would I talk?

Nitzanel2 karma

What do you think of the current state of sport in Israel?

israelskeleton1 karma

Sports in Israel is incredibly strong and there is much to be proud of! However, I think that there needs to be more emphasis on athletic development, with perhaps a strong inter-school system similar to Japan for example, and more exploratory sports, not just the usual suspects of Soccer/Football. I think that lack of funding plays a part in the lack of diversity and inclusion of more children in more sports.

unixlover2 karma

Hello sir! Thank you for doing the AMA. I have a few questions.

  1. Is the feeling of going through the track similar to a roller coaster, as in, is it fun the way it is in a roller coaster?
  2. Does it hurt very bad if you hit/scrape the wall?
  3. Pardon my lack of knowledge about skeleton atheletics, but what kind of braking mechanics do you use, considering 90mph is pretty fast?

Thanks again!

israelskeleton3 karma

A caveat--I am not as experienced as more advanced sliders who have years of sliding under their belt. The experiences are what I experience, and I am aware that other skeleton athletes, the ones my senior, do not get "beat around" and it does feel to them more of a flowing ride.

  1. Earlier on in the season, until I got to about 50 full runs under my belt, the track didn't feel like a roller coaster, it felt like I was just being hammered from all sides. The learning process is a painful one, or at least was for me, as you are not used to the different pressures on your body and understanding of what is happening in what situations. I hit tons of walls. In fact, all the footage used early on in the 90 second video, except for where I am in an orange suit, is from early on in the season. You can see I'm hitting everything in site.

The clip with me in the orange suit where I kind of come through a corner somewhat smoothly, is from a little later on. From 50-100 runs things were more gentle but there was still not a 'flowing' feeling. When you do things in a fashion where you enter and exit a corner with a pretty good line/direction, things feel to me kind of like a swingset, albeit with a rather short oscillation to it. There are times when it is like a roller coaster, and you've gained so much speed and are just accelerating quite quickly. Sometimes though that is cut short, as you've gone too high, and the feeling you're getting is kind of like free-fall, as your stomach goes 'up' and you drop fast...into another wall (see :13 seconds, at this vid: ). However at this point (I have taken nearly 150 runs) it is fun, as there are times I can make it through a run with very little tapping of a wall. It feels amazing.

  1. Depends on which wall. a small tap not much at all, especially if your shoulders and arms are compact in the sled where they're supposed to be. Other times it's truly a high impact. If your arms are too far over the side of the sled and you scrape along the wall it feels like being dragged on concrete. Other times if you hit a wall where bobsleds have knocked chunks of ice out of it can feel like a jagged knife. But as I get better I hit fewer and fewer walls, and the impacts are lessened as well. Some athletes intentionally take a tap on the wall--it is quicker to take the tap than to steer away from it. Every time you steer you are cutting a bit of ice, slowing you down.

  2. Don't brake during a run. You're racing against the clock you do not ever brake. It is like intentionally dropping fly balls in baseball, you just don't do it. That being said, at the end of a run, when you've passed the timing eye, you drag your toes, creating friction. This effectively brakes you, and at that point you are on an inclined plane as well.

jackhimself2 karma

What are your views on the current Palestinian/Israeli tensions, with specific regards to Israeli occupation of the west bank, and the building of unauthorized settlements on disputed territory?

israelskeleton11 karma

Interesting question. I will try to do it justice in the short space we have here. I was in Israel during the 2006 war with Lebanon. It was my first exposure to the actual tensions in the region, apart from learning about them. I also took a year off in Israel prior to matriculating at MIT. I have seen and met individuals from the West Bank and Gaza, and obviously I was raised as someone who is proudly Jewish and Zionist.

That being said, I believe the situation does not revolve around settlements. Settlements are largely a modern issue, and i'll address them below, so bear with me. The region itself is a modern region, with borders and boundaries largely redrawn after the first World War and the fall of the Ottoman empire. Therefore I do not believe that settlements are the problem, or root cause of the conflict. They certainly were not behind the wars in 1948 and 1967. What I view as a major issue is that you have an entire generation of people, the Palestinians, who have been raised to believe that their birthright was stolen from them. It is taught in schools, in textbooks, and on children's television shows. At the same time you have leaders who grossly mishandle funds and resources that are meant to better the lives of their people. Yasser Arafat died with hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank and those were not from book royalties. And you have as well a largely apathetic surrounding Arab population which do not want to acknowledge the problem. Jordan has many, many Palestinians who live without the rights of full citizens. So the current generation of Palestinians have immense societal pressure, which is directed at Israel (Jews), and the West. Turning down 97% of what you negotiate for (Arafat), or even more than that (Abbas) is irresponsible and fans these tensions.

At the same time you do have settlements that are built, and yes, you have soldiers in the West Bank. Both of these do not help the situation from quelling angst, yet are not the cause of the issue. There is no Israeli soldier left in Gaza. It is no-Jew land. Yet despite a complete withdrawal from this area Israel remains under threat from tunnels dug into Kibbutzim to function as a means to murder the Jewish population, and rockets, made of the same infrastructure that could instead be used to build up the area. Despite legalities, soldiers in the west bank have saved countless Israeli lives. The metrics of successful terror attacks before and after these measures were implemented are very, very clear.

Unauthorized settlements are illegal according to Israeli law. And I believe in the rule of law.

jackhimself3 karma

Thanks so much for the thought out reply. It's a rare day to get a clear picture of what the conflict means to people who are not politicians or spokesholes for politicians. Thank you for the nuanced and eloquent response.

israelskeleton1 karma

Sure! Feel free to debate me as well if you disagree with any points. There's always two sides to a story, and you should always feel free to message me (

Abohani0 karma

What I view as a major issue is that you have an entire generation of people, the Palestinians, who have been raised to believe that their birthright was stolen from them

Honest question here, why do you suppose that they are wrong to believe so ? The reason they are displaced and stateless is because western states decided to move Jewish populations from Europe to the middle east.

Jordan has many, many Palestinians who live without the rights of full citizens

Not a fan of any Arab regime but I don't think Jordan is obliged to grant citizenship to those displaced by other nations, I would certainly prefer that they would but I can't say they should.

I hope you are not offended, I thought your comment offered a point of view I wish to discuss.

israelskeleton1 karma

I'm never offended by debate.

in 1923, Palestinian land was supposed to include much land that is now modern day Jordan, as well. At the time it was called Trans-Jordan. It was a very large portion of land, about 3x the size of the proposed Jewish land.

The borders of the region are all modern, having been crafted largely in the past 100 years.

Why I believe the "stolen" mentality is wrong, is that there was a partition of the land for two states for two peoples. In 1948 Israel accepted this framework and formed a state within it's given borders. The surrounding Arab states took issue with there being a Jewish state and attempted to destroy it. In the process land was exchanged, as happens in wars. There were a good many Arabs who left the area intending to return when Israel no longer existed. There were also Arabs who were expelled during that war. Those displaced and their subsequent generations (all offspring) are called "Palestinian refugees". This is the only case where refugee status is granted to subsequent generations. So when I look at "my birthright has been stolen from me by the Jews" I find it to be a mentality that ignores what took place, with many people voluntarily leaving, intending to return after the land was conquered, while those who were expelled should be (and have been quite handsomely) monetarily compensated to accept the reality of what took place, rather than creating more and more generations who harbor nothing but ill will. I find it of importance that Jordan captured and annexed the west bank in the 1948 war. Their claim is somehow different than Israel's claim on land? Their annexation of the land doubled their population as well. Why shouldn't they have to grant citizenship? They claimed the land and people as their own for over 20 years.

It is for this reason that I think the apathy of the Arab nations to the refugee issue is one which they must take responsibility for. When 97% or more of proposed land has been offered, only to be refused because it's not 100%, that's intransigence. The Arab nations have no interest in solving the refugee issue because it serves as a distraction for which attention can be shifted off of their own domestic problems.

edit: fixed quote of 2 lands

Abohani-2 karma

I am glad you replied.

The surrounding Arab states took issue with there being a Jewish state and attempted to destroy it

I believe this is a misconception, the problem with Israel is that it is foreign, as a majority of it's population immigrated to the land while it was under occupation from the Brits, Arabs are also hostile to the notion of a nation state with different religion but that is not why they are against Israel.

I am not saying Arabs were good to the Palestinians or that they are doing the right thing by crowding refugees in Ghettos with no prospect of work or dignified life but the origin of the problem is that a long time ago a war happened and the parents and grand parents of the current refugees were forced to leave their homes.

Another issue i have with the Israeli narrative is that it assumes that the Arabs should have accepted the creation of Israel and considers that the Arabs started the 1948 war, I don't believe any population would accept the establishment of a foreign entity by foreign powers, If European Jews immigrated to India under British rule and had Israel established there the Indians would have went to war too.

with many people voluntarily leaving, intending to return after the land was conquered

That doesn't make any sense, People left because there was war and death where they lived, that is not voluntarily, if you are referring to the story that Arab armies told them to leave till the war ends then it still doesn't make sense because it means they have been informed that fighting is going to take place at their homes(which i don't believe is the reason 700,000 people left).

while those who were expelled should be (and have been quite handsomely) monetarily compensated to accept the reality of what took place.

How were the refugees monetarily compensated ?

Why shouldn't they have to grant citizenship? They claimed the land and people as their own for over 20 years.

After googling it, it seems we were both misinformed as most of the Palestinian refugees who fled the west bank during 1967 war are actually granted full citizenship.

The annexation was not recognized by Arab nations at that time and some countries lead by Egypt proposed that Jordan be expelled from the Arab league.

It is noted that the Annexation granted full citizenship to all people living in the west bank, it is the equivalent of the one state solution being applied today.

I wish to clarify my position, I think that the creation of the state of Israel is a mistake and should be considered an act of colonization but I treat Israel's existence in this time as a fact as there is no way to return the millions living there to Europe, I think embraces policies that harm the general Palestinian population under the pretense of security, most notably economic harm and that these policies will lead to more fanaticism by the Palestinians which will lead to harsher treatment and so on.

israelskeleton2 karma

Because this isn't a political forum I will address the core issue you have which is that the foundation of the state is illegitimate.

I think the argument that the foundation of the state on land which was controlled by an empire no longer in existence would therefore have to discount historical presence of Jews in the territory. Palestinians are not a people who have historically been attached to palestine--there was mass migration in the past 100+ years, and much of the population which was not of the ottoman empire was nomadic. So the question becomes how far back do you go to claim the 'right' to live on the land? I posit that Jews, having had a presence in the land for thousands of years, and having once had 2 distinct kingdoms in that region have legitimate claim to having a state of their own. If you believe that it must be Arab, then we will agree to disagree on that. A palestinian charter which states that their people are Arabs, residing in an "indivisible part of the greater Arab homeland" (size 660x greater than that of Israel) to me speaks volumes.

Again we will agree to disagree on legitimacy--I speak to the current tensions. Israel will not disappear--it exists. How to rectify the tensions? Stop promoting the idea that Jews and the West are responsible for all the problems. in a span of a relatively short period of time Israel was a flourishing state with modern infrastructure. I believe the same has not taken place in the West Bank and Gaza because of the mentality that the problems are caused by theft or others rather than looking to their leadership to build infrastructure (rather than tearing out Gazan infrastructure to build rockets, or using all of the concrete given to Gaza in aid to build tunnels to go murder people) and stability. I understand the frustration, but focusing it only ever outwards and on the past is making it impossible to move forward.

Edit: Case-in-point: in what way, in any scenario, is building a terror tunnel more useful for the Palestinian people than building schools and hospitals, which are not infrequently destroyed when rockets are fired precisely from those locations?

buffalo2 karma

Are you a Mel Brooks fan? Because I thought of this. Keep dropping the Hebrew Hammer on your foes! We need more Allies on the ice to combat the Nazis!

Edit: link.

israelskeleton3 karma

Of course! I loved "The Producers" when growing up!

nice2play2 karma

Thanks for doing this! I think your mission is really an important one.

  1. Why do an obscure sport? If it's so expensive?

  2. Do you have coaching? If not, how have you learned and become better?

  3. What was bodybuilding like? Why switch/quit?

israelskeleton3 karma

  1. Because I love it. I was a good hockey player but at some point the love was just not there. This sport, I love. Any day at the track, regardless of if I get the crap kicked out of me, is a good day. Expense is not a concern if I am striving to achieve my dreams and to inspire others in the process. I'd rather have 10 skeleton runs than a TV.

  2. I do not have a dedicated coach in skeleton. When I go to Calgary I have been very generously been allowed to talk to the coaches there, and I have immense gratitude to the folks in Calgary for that. I have for the most part learned thanks to the generosity of my seniors in the sport. My friends John and Joe are skeleton athletes at the world cup level and are 10x the athlete I am now. They have been of immense help in my development. One day I will try to pay that forward.

  3. Bodybuilding was an amazing journey. It is truly amazing the amount of dedication, patience, and willpower it takes, but it is also incredibly fun. I switched because I wanted a different platform to inspire other Jewish athletes with. I felt unfulfilled in a way in bodybuilding. I miss it though.

1tudore2 karma

what advice do you have for young people – middle and high school students – interested in training for ice sports?

Do you have any recommendations for off–ice training?

israelskeleton3 karma

Absolutely! Great question. I suggest doing training incorporating explosive olympic lifts. I believe it is integral to the development of an athlete, any athlete, to have honed explosive hip movements, as the hips are the power-center for much of our movements.

I am a staunch advocate of training for power using compound movements with barbells. The aforementioned olympic lifts will make you explosive on the first few steps to generate power, and other compound lifts such as the squat (both back and front), will develop strong posterior chains which is also critical to athletic performance and injury prevention.

I also advocate training hamstrings directly--powerful hamstrings mean powerful strides, and whether you're skating, running, or jumping, you will want well-rounded, powerful legs.

Feel free to contact me as well ( if you have further questions.

JewsOfLife2 karma

Hey AJ, fellow Jew here. I played football for a small college in western Pennsylvania where some of my teammates sincerely asked me where my horns were and why I didn't have my leather pouch full of gold around my neck. Three (four?) questions:

Do you ever encounter situations like this? I can't imagine there are too many of us in the skeleton world.

You seem to be an F1 fan. Who's your favorite current driver? Do you think the world of F1 will ever get over Chanoch Nissany and allow another Jew/Israeli to get a SuperLicense? Any good prospects in Israel I should be aware of?

You mentioned that your seasons are paid out of pocket. With the CEO of your company being such a huge supporter of sport (America's Cup comes to mind), have you thought of reaching out internally for sponsorship?

israelskeleton2 karma

Hey! I know the "horns" feeling.

  1. As a relatively new, "baby" athlete, I am at the bottom of the totem pole so-to-speak in the hierarchy of skeleton athletes. Yet the sport and those i've encountered in it have been immensely generous with their time and patience, and have been very good to me. I only had one negative encounter given my religion, and that was quickly resolved--we are now friends, and it is that kind of turnaround I treasure, as an athlete representing Jewish people.

  2. My favorite driver is always going to be Schumacher. I do not know what the future holds for Israeli/Jewish drivers. I think that if there was a larger critical mass of Jews seeking to join F1 or other driving sports, it'd be a huge help in that regard.

  3. It is difficult, balancing my position here at Oracle with my athletic goals. I don't really have a way of walking up to Larry's (or Safra's) office and asking for support. It'd be nice, but not something I think would really happen.

JewsOfLife1 karma

Thanks for the response. Publicity like this is a great first step to getting the attention of the Oracle leadership team. Also, I know tons of people from your Alma Mater. Talked to a few of them about you this evening and they spoke so highly of you. Even the ones who didn't really know you.

israelskeleton0 karma

Would always be nice to get their attention ;) Give my best regards to my fellow engineers!

gail_nicole2 karma

What are your goals for this season and how will the money you raise be used?

israelskeleton2 karma

I cannot mention my athletic goals without proper acknowledgement of my personal goal: inspiring Jews through sporting excellence:

Jews can accomplish amazing things, and are overrepresented in almost every contributive field in society, except for sports. Yet Jewish athletes have the power to act as ambassadors for their communities, people, and homeland. I wish to inspire a new generation of Jews to take up this mission of ambassadorship through sports participation by leading by example—showing that sporting excellence—that the pinnacle of sports achievement is possible as a proud Jew and Zionist.

As an athlete, though: Every season for the next 3 seasons serves only to make me a better skeleton athlete. This seasons’ goal is to gain experience and improve as much as can be improved to put Israel in a position to qualify a world-cup berth (60th in the world and below) in the 2017/18 season. I would ideally like to finish in the 70s in world ranking this season.

Costs are extensive, given the highly specialized nature of the sport. My new sled is being purchased used for $5,000, and new racing suits, helmets, and shoes will cost an additional $2,000. This season I'll be touring North America and Europe, spending 2 months touring in Canada and months in Europe. Flights, accommodation, and travel are large costs, as are the fees for practicing and entering races. Last season’s costs over only 4 races totaled nearly $30,000, and with the new equipment and additional races this season is expected to cost almost $40,000.
The funds raised will be used to help me travel, afford equipment, coaching, accommodation, and training fees.

gail_nicole1 karma

Good luck on your journey! I did notice your overall personal goal - keep chasing after that. I'm sure you will inspire many others throughout the world in your travels as well.

israelskeleton0 karma

Thanks Gail!

bonesfordoorhandles1 karma

Why do you include your religion in your nickname? How about The Israeli Iceman?

You say your mission is to inspire other Jews. Do you concern yourself with Israelis of other or no faith?

israelskeleton3 karma

Israel is my homeland. By representing Israel I represent all of it's citizens regardless of faith or lack thereof. It makes me proud that Israel is accommodating of all religions. The Hebrew Hammer is a nickname I took on because I enjoyed the character played by Adam Goldberg. I think the other athletes enjoy it too.

bonesfordoorhandles-1 karma

So why not say you want to inspire Israelis? Why did you just say Jews?

israelskeleton3 karma

If you take a look at all of the articles written and the indiegogo campaign I always mention Israelis and Jews. I think that for the most part though, I represent Israel and it's people. That is separate from inspiring Jews to achieve sporting excellence. I was born in Boston as a modern orthodox Jew. I was one of very few of those from my community that participated in high level sport. I do believe that there is a problem endemic specifically to the Jewish community that I am trying to help rectify, and that is that Jews do not place an emphasis on athletic excellence. So while I represent all people of the land of Israel, I have a personal goal to use that ambassadorship to promote more interest from specifically the Jewish community, worldwide, in sports. Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, although not to the exclusion of other peoples' from residing within it's borders. That being said, the vast majority of Israel's population is Jews, and Jews all over the world take pride and inspiration from Israel, even if they themselves are not Israeli. I do not see where my 2 goals and roles conflict.

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What is your opinion on public speaking classes and their low attendance and retention rates?

Also, best of luck!

israelskeleton0 karma

Public speaking is an invaluable skill to have to effectively communicate. I myself didn't attend one, but learned over years of experience how to properly address an audience, and how to have confidence in your own voice and ideas. I think for the most part people are uncomfortable talking to groups, since they downplay the significance of their own ideas or the weight of their voice. One of my favorite movies of all time is The King's Speech. There's a scene in there where Colin Firth, playing George VI, says that he deserves to be heard because "I have a voice". Most people for the most part are afraid to voice their opinions in a public forum--its outside their comfort zone. That's a shame.

WATErWouldBeNice1 karma

Did you happen to go to Camp Seneca Lake?

israelskeleton0 karma


israelskeleton0 karma

Is Irv still throwing cash out the back of a golf cart?

WATErWouldBeNice1 karma

Haha probably

israelskeleton0 karma

I did go there for one year after IBA/IHA. I don't remember many names. Jeremy R (think that was his name, and Gabby T come to mind. Was 9 years ago

defcon-121 karma

How many skeleton courses are there? Which is your favorite?

israelskeleton1 karma,_luge,_and_skeleton_tracks

There are 17 tracks people can slide on. Those include tracks like Nagano (the Spiral), which is only really open for 6 weeks of the year.

I have only been to Lake Placid, Park City, and Calgary. My favorite is my home track of Calgary. I like the straightaways where you get to compose and set yourself nicely. Park City doesn't have as many.

This year I will be in Igls, Calgary, Whistler, possibly St. Moritz, and Koenigsee.

Edit: comment about Nagano

Kartoffelkopf1 karma

Do you thank mr. skeltal on a regular basis for strong bones and calcium?

israelskeleton0 karma

mr. skeltal

unfortunately I dont. But I should

clydejallorina1 karma

What's the most irritating thing you've seen done in sports all the time?

israelskeleton0 karma

People defining themselves only by the sport they play. As an athlete you are representing yourself and hopefully a goal, but to define yourself as "X Player" I think diminishes the life you live off the court or ice.

Benn_The_Human1 karma

Dude. Would you ever do this on the light rail in Jerusalem. If you didn't watch, homie put wheels on a pallet of wood and rode it down hill.

israelskeleton0 karma

I'd prefer it head-first

Cyclops_lazy_laser_I0 karma

I don't really have any sliding specific questions so, random questions I use to confuse people will have to do! Who is your favorite Israeli freedom fighter? Who is your favorite person named Christopher? What is your favorite utensil to eat pizza with? If John killed Paul and Paul killed Jim who is Susie.

Some more serious questions- Full power Naruto vs Full Power Luffy who wins? Who is the strongest anime character you think you could take? Who is your favorite Final Fantasy character?

israelskeleton4 karma

1 Fav Freedom Fighter--

  • The Hebrew Hammer

  • Menachem Begin (Israeli)

  • Bar Kochba (Jewish),

  1. Fav Christopher: Christopher Walken. I need more Cowbell.
  2. Utensil to eat pizza with: If my fingers are a utensil, my fingers.
  3. No one cares about Susie, she has no friends
  4. Naruto
  5. Krillin. Only reason dragonballs exist is to revive that weakling.

Cyclops_lazy_laser_I1 karma

Solid choices. I feel bad for not having any questions, luckily you're a good sport about my crappy questions.

israelskeleton3 karma

Dude my people went 40 years in a desert. I can handle a few questions--It's in my DNA

normalguy1998-6 karma

Why did you kill Jesus?

israelskeleton18 karma

I refer all legal questions to my lawyer, Saul Goodman. --Better Call Saul