Jews & Sports

from Big Mo's Sports Desk

Chabad Dancer in Guinness Book of Records!

Miriam Metzinger


The Chabad Telethon has been a favorite Jewish event that has brought visibility as well as dollars to the good deeds done by Lubavitch for the public at large. Musical and comedy numbers follow requests for donations during the 6 hour continuous program, and celebrity appearances by Chabad friends such as musician Bob Dylan and actor Jon Voight have become a annual tradition. While the current recession caused no one to expect a new record in fund raising, the respectable $7.5 million was well in the range of previous years' sums; this is incredible, given the worst stock market crash in seven decades occurred just a year ago.

One record that was set at this year's Chabad telethon was for the longest recorded Chasidic dance ever. A stage was set up in front of the Staples Center alongside a large countdown timer. Rabbi Yossi Cunin earned this Guinness Book of World Records first by dancing for 6 continuous hours during the telethon's run on September 13 from 5 to 11 pm. While many Chassidim dance all night at Simchas Beis HaShoeva celebrations in Crown Heights, 36- year old Yossie Cunin danced vigorously and without even a short break for the entire recorded program.

With the help of celebrity trainer, Dave "Scooter" Honig, Cunin shed 100 pounds and got into prime physical condition for the record-setting event. He started by running one block and walking two, then incorporated swimming and mountain biking into his routine. Before long, the rabbi began training for hours a day and undertook some formidable conditioning, to the point of running up Dodgers Stadium with weights strapped to his back.

For Yossie Cunin, the workout routine was a perfect way to learn new habits and to lose the weight he started putting on in his twenties. He even made his own whole-wheat challah for Shabbos and holidays and perfected a recipe for low-carb matzah balls; ""It's important to one's spiritual life to be in good physiological health," Cunin said.

While he says he only expects to hold the record for a year or two and thinks a younger person will be able to break it, training for the record was well worth the time and effort. Rabbi Cunin, along with other dancing, cartwheeling chassidim, demonstrated the joy of Jewish life while doing the important mitzvah of tzedaka by encouraging viewers to give to good causes to cheer and heal the sick and to help teenagers abandon drug addiction. "It's about people helping people," said Rabbi Cunin.


[Reprinted with permission from "Living Jewish" ( Photo courtesy of]

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