Students at Norfolk school mix Judaism with judo (at a Konan Club)

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News about Konan’s newest club, Yeshivas Aish Kodesh Academy Judo Club in Norfolk VA, from the Virginian-Pilot:

By Scott Daugherty
The Virginian-Pilot
© May 11, 2013

NORFOLK

Photo by L. Todd Spencer | The Virginian-Pilot

Meet Joshua Edery: The toughest man – or, rather, mensch – in Norfolk.

Three times a week for the past three years, Edery and a half-dozen other students of the Yeshivas Aish Kodesh academy have practiced throwing, wrestling and choking one another as part of one of the school’s more unusual after-school activities: intramural judo.

The academy is a private school for Orthodox Jewish boys. In addition to algebra, government and literature, students study the Talmud, religious ethics and other tenets of their faith – sometimes in the original Hebrew, Aramaic or medieval text. It’s the sort of place young men in yarmulkes and tallit katans – ponchos with specially knotted fringes – debate obscure religious laws involving who’s at fault when a fire kills a goat.

Club members stress that people shouldn’t be surprised that they want to learn judo. There’s nothing in the Talmud that says they can’t defend themselves, they said.

“Obviously, religion is a big part of our lives, but at the end of the day, we are normal kids,” said Edery, an 18-year-old blue belt who won the school’s first “Tough Mensch” tournament in December and hopes to bring home the title again Sunday. “We like to get out and have fun like anyone else.”

Click here for complete article and more photos.

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