Mazel Tov to Muhammad Ali's Grandson on His Bar Mitzvah

By Jeffrey Goldberg

This is pretty awesome. From the Philadelphia Daily News (h/t Jack Shafer):

Muhammad Ali was in town last November for the funeral of Smokin' Joe Frazier, but it turns out the boxing legend was back in the area on April 28 for the bar mitzvah of his grandson Jacob Wertheimer at Rodeph Shalom on North Broad Street.

Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer, Jacob's mother, told Ali biographer Thomas Hauser that though her father raised his children Muslim, he was "supportive in every way. He followed everything and looked at the Torah very closely."

"It meant a lot to Jacob that he was there," she told Hauser, who reported on the bar mitzvah at TheSweetScience.com.

"I was born and raised as a Muslim," Khaliah said, "but I'm not into organized religion. I'm more spiritual than religious. My husband is Jewish. No one put any pressure on Jacob to believe one way or another. He chose this on his own because he felt a kinship with Judaism and Jewish culture." Her husband is attorney Spencer Wertheimer.

UPDATE: In true passive-aggressive Jewish tradition, stalwart Goldblog reader Marc Syken writes in to say: "My son was also bar mitzvahed at Rodeph Shalom, yet no mention in your blog - what am I, the invisible man or something?"

So: a belated Mazel Tov to Nate Syken, on his Bar Mitzvah at Rodeph Shalom.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/mazel-tov-to-muhammad-alis-grandson-on-his-bar-mitzvah/258155/