Meet the Orthodox Jew who's taking on professional athletes in a bid to win big
Tomorrow night Michael Neuman, a 25-year-old physical activity psychotherapist, will be tackling one of the toughest obstacle courses ever designed in an attempt to win a million bucks. Oh, and he'll be doing it all whilst proudly donning his yarmulke.
The competition is part of the new show from NBA star LeBron James, Million Dollar Mile, in which contestants race against pro athletes through challenging obstacles. If they complete three, they're guaranteed $50k, but the big money comes at the end of all six stages.
“Imagine that, a yeshiva bochor [student] competing against a pro athlete at their own game,” said Neuman in a press statement. “At first I was uncomfortable about the fact people would be staring at me on the start line," he continued, "but then I remembered it’s probably strange for them to see an Orthodox Jew in sport. You just never see it in pro sports, but people have been really responsive and respectful.”
Having grown up in Miami Beach in a self-professed "typical Orthodox family", Neuman has always wanted to be an athlete, but with yeshiva and Shabbos to consider, sport was never a priority. “Everyone can pursue their dreams without deviating from Torah values," he stated. "Strive for greatness, but don’t ever let your personal goals get in the way of HaShem’s goals for you.”
After his studies Neuman founded Movement and Active Psychology, whereby he uses exercise as a means to apply psychological analysis. He's also a keen OCR (obstacle course race) and NOC (ninja obstacle course) competitor, as well as regularly running marathons.
“I believe being Orthodox has absolutely helped me get this far in sports, it taught me a lot about discipline. And why not try whatever you’re passionate about? In the end HaShem will help.”
By Danielle Goldstein
Million Dollar Mile photos © CBS
Visit michaelneumantherapist.com to find out more about Michael Neuman.