Haredi marathon runner Bracha (Beatty) Deutsch announced Wednesday that she will miss the World Championships in Budapest because it takes place on Saturday.
Deutsch, who has already missed the marathon at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar and the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, was informed that she is among the 100 runners who have achieved the criterion, but will sadly forgo it because of the holy day.
Deutsch shared in a painful post on social media: "I have kept Shabbat all my life and this is a mitzvah that I cherish. I never imagined myself even considering otherwise, and yet for the first time in my life I found myself feeling pressure to compete on Saturday."
"Suddenly, the struggle that all our Jewish grandmothers faced in the 20s, when they were told they would lose their jobs if they didn't show up on Shabbat, feels much more real. Will I lose my funding if I don't prove myself and compete? I'm giving up such great opportunities, maybe this profession isn't really sustainable as an ultra-Orthodox Jew?"
"And I wonder: Is there a place for religious people in sports? Is there any way to make changes to the system? Can religious beliefs be respected among athletes? I find myself doing the unbelievable and asking my rabbi if there is any way to run. I know in my heart that I will never be able to do this, but I have to ask.
"I'm not surprised by his answer, just shocked that I even considered it. And as I reflect on my journey, and the fierce challenges and obstacles I have faced along the way, I know that the sacrifice I make to sit down."
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But there is also good news. The World Athletics Federation decided at next year's Paris Olympics to move the women's marathon to Sunday, so that if she meets the criteria she will participate in the Olympics for the first time.
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