In Christmas season, Jewish wrestler demands Hanukkah representation

MJF never brings his Judaism up in the ring, but it's followed him throughout his career.

MJF is seen at the AEW Double or Nothing pay-per-view in May 2019. (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
MJF is seen at the AEW Double or Nothing pay-per-view in May 2019.
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The holiday season can often be a depressing time for Jews in the West, with the overabundance of Christmas imagery vastly overshadowing any sort of representation of Hanukkah.
This is a long-established facet of Western Jewry, and has been pointed out numerous times, such as by Adam Sandler's famous "Hanukkah Song."
This under-representation of Hanukkah was recently addressed by American Jewish professional wrestler Maxwell Jacob Friedman, better known as MJF, who responded on Twitter to an allegation that he "must hate Christmas."
"Makes me sick to my stomach," he said in a retweet. "My holiday has little to no representation. I WANT HANUKKAH SWEATERS."
He then called out Chicago-based apparel company One Hour Tees demanding Hanukkah sweaters, and created a thread tagging Jewish radio jocky Peter Rosenberg, Jewish rapper-comedian Lil' Dicky and Jewish professional wrestlers Goldberg, David Starr and Colt Cabana.
In response to being tagged, Rosenberg tweeted his approval.
One Hour Tees' initial response, however, was less positive, simply tweeting "....f**k" with an accompanying face-palm emoji. However, ultimately, MJF got his way.
Currently the self-declared "hottest rising star" in the promotion All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and a mainstay on their weekly television series AEW Dynamite, as well as featuring on promotion Major League Wrestling (MLW), the 23-year-old MJF is one of the promotion's most dominant "heels" (villainous character) and is famous for his skill at provoking reactions from fans both in the ring and on social media.
MJF never brings his Judaism up in the ring, but it has followed him throughout his career.
Speaking in an interview with the Jewish Journal in September, he said: "I’ve never talked about being Jewish in a promo ever. But my name is just so blatantly a Jewish name. It’s not like my name is Maxwell Jacob Smith. So [I] would go to towns and people would say a lot of antisemitic slurs, and it was tough in that sense, but also I looked at it as, 'I’m making people mad. I’m eliciting a reaction, so who cares?'"
However, he has also been motivated by experiences from before his career.
Originally from Plainview, Long Island, New York, MJF had an impressive run in his high school football team, but often faced antisemetic bullying.
Speaking in an (in character) interview on the promotion's YouTube series AEW Dark on October 30, MJF opened up about the challenges he faced.
"When I was growing up, I played football, I loved football," he explained. "For those of you who aren't aware I am Jewish, the name might have given it away, and there were no other Jewish kids on my football team, so it was an adjustment for me because the kids didn't exactly love the fact that there was a Jewish kid taking their spot. So, at the first day of practice, I beat out the other kids who had been playing a little longer than me for the linebacker spot, and I remember the next week, [name censored] and his band of douchebags walked up to me and the said 'Hey, Jew boy!' and they threw rolls of quarters at me and told me to pick it up... It messed me up, and I remember just going home and bawling my eyes out."
This was one of his motivations for getting in better shape and not letting anyone else bully him.
"Now, I'm proud to say that [name censored] is a drug addict, dropped out of college. And I'm rich, famous... and ridiculously f**king handsome, so who won?"
Fellow stars from MJF's home promotion AEW Sammy Guevara, Darby Allin and Billy Gunn, as well as fellow Jewish wrestlers Ken Kerbis and Matt Sydal, are set to come to Israel on December 15 for the Israeli Pro Wrestling Association's Cinema City Wrestling event.