Axe throwing with a mohel


Rabbi Mike Rovinsky


The Congregation B’nai Amoona Men’s Club channeled their inner Paul Bunyan on Thursday evening, Jan. 26, at the Axe House in Valley Park. The event, “Axe Throwing with a Mohel,” needs not much of an explanation. It was a bunch of guys throwing axes, with inspirational remarks by Rabbi Mike Rovinsky—the mohel.

“We go through life and we develop opinions, and we are so set that we are right and perfect and spot on that we create a target around our opinions,” Rovinsky said. “But Judaism says he who is wise can learn from everybody. The message for axe throwing tonight is not to be afraid to miss the target.

“The Hebrew phrase that is mistranslated for “he who sins” is שחוטא (chotem). That happens to be a term from archery, which means to miss the mark. That’s what it means when we fail. So if we miss the mark, what are we going to do? We’re going to take our axe, refine our aim and hopefully do a little better.”

Rovinsky, who generally uses a sharp instrument that’s a bit smaller than an axe, stepped up to the line and after two missed attempts, hit a near bullseye on his third try. It was hard not to envision the classic 1965 “Tonight Show” clip where Ed Ames (the Jewish actor who starred in NBC’s “Daniel Boone”) tossed a hatchet at a plywood cutout of a sheriff, and hit the target directly on the crotch.

Axe throwing, it turns out, requires a deft hand. Several contestants stepped up to the throwing line, exuding confidence only to see their axes fall well short of the target.

Michael Nathanson either had beginner’s luck or was a natural, hitting two bullseyes in a row.

Raphael Thomadsen, a professor of marketing at Washington University, doesn’t do a lot of axe throwing in his day job. Nevertheless, he had one bullseye. Thomadsen said he had thrown an axe one time previously but admitted, “I can’t remember a thing about the technique you’re supposed to use.”