The ‘Hebrew Hammer’
Jonathan Schleifer, who spoke little English upon moving to East Brunswick from Israel as a fourth-grader, became the school’s first state titlist in a quarter century, winning the 160-pound NJSIAA Individual Championship.
Jonathan Schleifer wins 160-pound state title(Photo: Pete Ackerman)
Schleifer committed to Princeton University after compiling an academic resume (4.3 GPA) as impressive as his career on the mat.
The parents of Schleifer, who entered East Brunswick Public Schools as an English as a Second Language Student, read countless books to him and encouraged him to watch TV shows with English subtitles, beginning his transition from ESL to the Ivy League.
Known as the "Hebrew Hammer," Schleifer was a four-time conference, district and region champion (only four others have won four Region V titles). He set school records for wins, pins and team points and ended a distinguished career with a 153-8 mark.
Schleiefer placed eighth in the state at 145 pounds as a freshman, fifth in the state at 152 pounds as a sophomore and second in the state at 160 pounds as a junior.
After defeating Bound Brook’s Josh Ugalde 8-4 in the state final, East Brunswick teammate Michael Quintin found Schleifer jumping rope alone on the stage behind the bleachers at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
Quintin told Schleifer to stop jumping rope because all the matches were over.
"They are for today," Schleifer replied, illustrating the commitment that enabled him to become East Brunswick’s first state champion in 25 years.
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