Muhammad Ali Returns to Philadelphia For Grandson’s Bar Mitzvah

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was back in Philadelphia recently to attend the bar mitzvah of his grandson Jacob Wertheimer, various news outlets have just revealed.

The bar mitzvah is the traditional coming-of-age ceremony (usually at age 13) in Judaism. Bar mitzvah means “son of the commandment” and it refers to the boy who is called to the Torah (the five books of Moses in the Old Testament) and more commonly as the religious ceremony itself. In the ritual at the synagogue, the bar mitzvah celebrant recites in Hebrew a section of the Torah and a portion from the biblical prophets called the haftorah. A party usually follows the religious service. Girls generally have a bat mitzvah at age 12.

Jacob is the son of Ali’s daughter, Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer, and Spencer Wertheimer, who is Jewish. The theme of Jacob’s bar mitzvah was diversity and inclusiveness.

Khaliah Ali told the the The Sweet Science website the following:

I was born and raised as a Muslim. But I’m not into organized religion. I’m more spiritual than religious. My husband is Jewish. No one put any pressure on Jacob to believe one way or another. He chose this on his own because he felt a kinship with Judaism and Jewish culture.

She also said that her father, who converted to Islam in the 1960s, was supportive of Jacob in every way.

Ali, 70, previously was in Philly in November for the funeral of boxing great Joe Frazier.

The former Olympic gold medalist and world’s heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali is considered one of the most famous and revered athletes in the world. He compiled a professional boxing record of 56-5, with 37 knockouts. His illustrious career included famous bouts with Frazier, Sonny Liston, and George Foreman.

Muhammad Ali has been fighting Parkinson’s disease since the mid 1980s.

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