World’s First Jewish Wrestling Extravaganza Set to Take Place in Los Angeles
WrestleMania: The High Point of Wrestling in L.A.
WWE’s WrestleMania will be taking over Los Angeles this week for its 39th installment, with over 75,000 fans expected each night for the four-day event. Squared-circle enthusiasts travelling to the location can take in a week’s worth of wrestling action with conventions and themed unaffiliated independent wrestling shows. The event showcases international wrestling styles such as Mexican luchadores, Japanese “Strong Style”, and Joshi, but this time around, one particular event, Mitzvah Mania, will show wrestling fans the first Jewish wrestling extravaganza in the world.
Mitzvah Mania: Where Every Match Features Jewish Talent
Mitzvah Mania is set to take place on Sunday morning at Los Angeles’ Temple Beth Am, with a full card where every single match spotlights Jewish talent from around the wrestling world. Headlined by the All Elite Wrestling’s Colt Cabana and QT Marshall, former WWE favourites Chris Adonis and Lisa Marie Varon, and emerging Jewish independent wrestling talents such as Jack Cartwheel, Chelsea Durden and Royce Isaacs.
A Rabbi’s Love for Wrestling Gave Birth to Mitzvah Mania
Mitzvah Mania is the brainchild of wrestling promoter and ordained pulpit Rabbi Jeremy Fine. After falling in love with independent wrestling seven years ago, Fine got started putting together wrestling shows. With encouragement from his then-congregants, he organised wrestling shows such as Mitzvah Mayhem and Hanukkah Havoc. With the recent opportunity from some Los Angeles business partners, Fine had the chance to bring his vision to life.
Mitzvah Mania: A Unique Way to Represent the Jewish Community in Wrestling
For Fine, Mitzvah Mania isn’t just an excellent wrestling event but a resource for individuals curious about the religion and Israel. Fine believes that niche spaces are essential for rabbis/clergy to engage in rather than promoting and proselytising. It’s a peaceful way to connect, understand and learn from one another.
Passion and Excitement of the Show
Fine describes Mitzvah Mania’s early difficulties in sourcing materials and not being familiar with the local wrestling talent in Los Angeles. However, the reception so far has been “over the moon,” even from the Jewish wrestlers themselves.
The Wrestling World vs Pop Culture
Despite the mainstream experiences of increasing platforming of anti-Semitism, the wrestlers in the independent wrestling world share a similar experience – they’re lucky enough not to be on the receiving end of it. Austin, TX-based New Japan Pro-Wrestling Strong favourite Royce Isaacs stated that although hearing about it in mainstream media is troubling, it doesn’t affect his life as a wrestler.
A Hopeful Future
Mitzvah Mania creates a resource for everyone to learn from different stories and experience the wrestling event together, regardless of religion, race, or sexual preference. For Fine, Mitzvah Mania hopes to continue to build on that, heal the world, grow bonds, and learn from one another.