Newcastle Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Dovid Lewis is helping boxer Dmitriy Salita prepare for the fight of his life.
Before the religiously observant Salita challenges Britain’s Amir Khan for the WBA light-welterweight title on Saturday night in Newcastle, Rabbi Lewis will be organising a Shabbat minyan and meal in the boxer’s hotel. The rabbi also hopes to attend the fight, along with members of the Newcastle and Gateshead communities.
Salita and his personal assistant Israel Liberow celebrated last Shabbat with the Newcastle congregation, where he was hosted by Rabbi Lewis and his wife Nachi.
Watching his weight, he ate the smoked salmon and cucumber but passed on the accompanying savoury crackers at the post-service kiddush.
The boxer said he was grateful for the hospitality, adding: “I am looking forward to the challenge of the fight, although I am always a little nervous.”
Rabbi Lewis said: “It has been our pleasure to welcome them into our home to stay. They were both very keen to come to shul with me.
“When I expressed an interest in Dmitriy’s training schedule, he invited me to his training on Monday. I was able to see him taped up and go through his fitness regime.”
There was even the opportunity to involve the rabbi in a lighthearted sparring session.