After losing friends on Oct. 7, this Israeli NCAA basketball player looks for an escape on the court

Romi Levy is a standout Israeli athlete, setting her sights on a new life and career turnaround at the University of South Florida. This 6-foot-3 wing player, hailing from Herzliya, Israel, found solace in basketball to escape the continuous broadcasts of news updates from home.

However, her thoughts were often pulled back to the ongoing conflict in Israel. A part of her hometown was devastated by a terror attack where some of her high school friends lost their lives. In addition, her cousin, who is like a brother to her, was actively serving on the front lines of the war.

Despite her personal struggles, Levy’s time on the court became a source of joy and satisfaction, putting her grief and worries aside. She recently transferred to USF after facing injuries and setbacks during her three-year tenure at Auburn University and she has been striving to redefine her college basketball career.

For Levy, basketball goes beyond a sport – it’s in her blood. Raised as an Israeli Jew, her heritage is deeply entrenched in her family’s athletic legacy. She grew up with stories of her grandmother, Tamara Metal Schumacher, the first female Olympian from Israel, bringing forth a sense of pride and inspiration. She also embraces her dual-citizenship as both an Israeli and American.

Off the court, Levy showcases her resilience and love for her culture, engaging with the Jewish and Israeli communities at USF. She’s an integral part of the school’s Hillel center and Chabad house, and her strong ties to her roots is evident in her unwavering dedication to observe Jewish traditions, although she admittedly misses her family’s Shabbat dinners.

Levy struggled with injury issues at Auburn and is looking for a clean start at the University of South Florida. (South Florida Athletics)

Amidst the emotional turmoil, Romi’s father flew from Israel to Tampa to support her during her first game at USF. Having to keep a strong front, he reminded her to focus on her new beginnings and assured her well-being while she took charge of basketball on the court.

Romi, however, remains determined to forge ahead in her new environment, channeling her renewed energy and aspirations towards basketball. She hopes to continue her journey making a significant impact both on and off the court.

With basketball serving as her escape and USF her newfound territory, Levy, a true warrior, aims to defy odds and make her mark on the court this year. Her unwavering spirit and courage honor her family’s enduring legacy, making her a force to be reckoned with in every game she plays.


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