Mirowitz eighth-grader joins Yeshivat Kadimah high school basketball team

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Mirowitz eighth grader Jacob Genin (center) stands with his Yeshivat Kadimah High School basketball teammates.

DANIEL SHANKER, FRESHMAN, YESHIVAT KADIMAH HIGH SCHOOL

In the name “high school basketball” exists a very helpful indicator: high school.

That’s normally a useful clue, but not so with Jacob Genin, an eighth-grader at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School, a Bais Abe congregant and a player on the Yeshivat Kadimah basketball team.

Clearly, playing at the high school level provides a different level of competition.

“It’s a step up from what I [was] doing for basketball,” Genin said. “It’s a challenge, though, because lots of them are bigger than me. They’ve definitely hit the gym.”

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Genin approaches this challenge with a positive mindset, to which he credits his success.

“I wouldn’t say it’s scary, but it poses a challenge to me,” he said. “It’s one of the Kadimah’s values that you don’t have to have certain traits just to be good. You just have to work hard.”

A strong effort is Genin’s contribution to the team, but the fresh environment also provides him with another incentive to perform well.

“I do try to perform exceptionally well when I’m not with a group of kids that I’m very closely knit with,” he said. “I feel like it helps me fit in when there’s a bunch of mutual respect for everyone.”

That sense of mutual respect encourages Genin to come with his A-game.

“When you go in and you perform well and you do well for the team, it brings that respect that you can give back,” he said.

While Genin knew some other players going in, playing for a different school’s team has been a unique experience.

“You can really find community with the team,” Genin said. “I don’t think that many people outside of Kadimah really can feel that.”

Different schools have trademark atmospheres. For Genin, Kadimah’s inclusivity and welcoming environment make practices fun rather than burdensome.

“Just being around these types of people is really nice,” Genin said. “[It’s a great] opportunity to be with a bunch of other Jewish kids [my] age, and [both Kadimah] and I see it as a great way to connect with other high school kids.”