Photo Credit: YouTube
On Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, Charlie White (center) and Meryl Davis (right) won the USA's first gold medal for ice dancing.

The first Americans to win a gold medal in ice dancing at an Olympics includes a Jewish American male college student from Michigan, Charlie White, 26. The two were the first Americans to win not only a gold in ice dancing, but in any kind of pairing of ice skaters, including figure skating pairs.

White, and his long-time partner of 16 years, Meryl Davis, won the gold medal on Monday, Feb. 17. The two have been dancing together since 1997. In 2009 and 2010, Davis and White were the U. S. ice dancing champions.

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The pairs’ coach and choreographer, Igor Shpiland, is a Russian Jew.

Born in Dearborn, Mich., White grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a heavily Jewish suburb of Detroit. Both he and Davis are students at the University of Michigan. The two took this semester off so they could compete in the Olympics.

Although White’s mother is Jewish, which means that according to Jewish law he is Jewish, the skater’s father is not Jewish and Charlie was raised in a secular home, according to the Detroit Jewish News.

As with all things Jewish, there is a bit of a controversy, the one here is about White’s Jewishness. The comic but generally accurate website “Jew or Not Jew” concluded that White was not Jewish, claiming that White’s grandmother converted after marrying her second husband. However, most Jewish media identifies White as being Jewish.

Here is a video of Davis and White skating to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, the music they used for their gold medal performance. This video is from Jan. 11, 2014, at the U.S. nationals in Boston.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

23 COMMENTS

  1. The part about them meeting in college is WRONG! They have been skating for 17 years together so they knew each other as kids. Have seen video of them through the years starting out as very young kids.

  2. The part about them meeting in college is WRONG! They have been skating for 17 years together so they knew each other as kids. Have seen video of them through the years starting out as very young kids.

  3. Judaism is a people, way of life and religion. If Grandma converted, she was still a part of the Jewish people. Her daughter was still a part of the Jewish people and even though Charlie White was raised in a secular home he is still a part of the Jewish people because Judaism is passed on by the mother.

  4. Conversions have to be according to the Halacha,…or they are not valid. This includes being examined by a Beit Din for seriousness of intent, and content knowledge. Some people don’t like this,…however, try going to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and try getting a driver’s license without taking a law or vision test. Just say,.”.I don’t like the vision test, and refuse to take it.” What would they say? Sorry, no license. In the same vein,..if someone “converts” without the proper elements of the law,….Sorry, no Jew.

  5. Conversions have to be according to the Halacha,…or they are not valid. This includes being examined by a Beit Din for seriousness of intent, and content knowledge. Some people don't like this,…however, try going to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and try getting a driver's license without taking a law or vision test. Just say,.".I don't like the vision test, and refuse to take it." What would they say? Sorry, no license. In the same vein,..if someone "converts" without the proper elements of the law,….Sorry, no Jew.

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