About AJ

AJ Edelman is one of Israel’s national Skeleton athletes. For three seasons AJ has represented Israel in international competition, training to qualify Israel for the first time in a sliding sport for the Winter Olympic games, next to be held in 2018 (Pyeongchang, South Korea).  AJ burst onto the Israeli team in 2014, and has won 3 national titles, and holds national records at each track he has raced at in the past two seasons.  He is the only Israeli athlete in Skeleton to race his entire career with the Israeli team, considering no other programs, and fulfilling his long-standing goal of representing his country and people on the international sporting stage.

AJ was born in Boston, Massachusetts (03/14/1991).  He started playing hockey at age 3 and continued on through high school as a goalie for his hometown team, the Brookline Warriors.  Identified as a premier talent in middle school AJ was offered spots at top prep-schools in Massachusetts but opted to remain at his Orthodox Jewish day-school.  After a year studying in religious seminary in Israel AJ matriculated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he joined the MIT Engineers Hockey team.  AJ is believed to be the first shomer-shabbat player in the history of the program.  In 2014 AJ graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering (concentrating on management application of mechanical engineering).

For a brief period of time after hockey AJ competed as a natural drug-free bodybuilder, placing in two categories at the 2014 Annapolis Drug-free Bodybuilding Championships.  Despite offers to continue playing hockey AJ transitioned to the sport of skeleton after graduating from MIT.  His personal goal is to inspire more Jewish and Israeli participation in sport, and to use the Olympics as a springboard to launch a foundation to aid Jewish and Israeli athletes in their athletic pursuits.

AJ’s Connection to Israel, Making Aliya, and Mission to Encourage More Jewish and Israeli Sport

AJ was first inspired to make Aliyah (become an Israeli citizen) after spending a summer in Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, a decision he reaffirmed after spending an academic year in Yeshiva (Lev Hatorah) in 2010.  In addition to numerous family connections and close friends who reside in Israel, AJ was also inspired to make Aliyah after his cousin served as a Chayal Boded (lone soldier) in the Israeli army.

After experiencing antisemitism which affected his hockey experiences even through his tenure at MIT, AJ decided that he wanted to serve as an example and encourage broader Jewish and Israeli participation in sport, and that the best manner of doing so was to represent Israel on the world sporting stage.  In October, 2013 AJ decided to pursue speedskating and bobsled, for which he assumed he would have natural athletic carryover from his tenure as an ice-hockey goaltender.  After being informed that finding another potential Israeli athlete to pursue bobsled at the same time, as well as of the significantly higher expense for bobsled over skeleton, AJ tried the sport of skeleton and fell in love after his first trip down the track.  AJ immediately committed to pursuing skeleton exclusively.  AJ still works as a goaltending and skating coach, and hopes to start a foundation to encourage further investment in Jewish and Israeli sports programs to provide much-needed resources and coaching for prospective athletes to help them achieve success.

Skeleton Athlete

As a skeleton athlete for Israel AJ has set new standards in Israeli sliding sports, setting Israeli track records at each track he has raced on in the past 2 seasons.  He holds track records at the Whistler, Koenigssee, Calgary, Lake Placid, and Igls tracks.

AJ has been honored to represent Israel in 2 World Championships.

Other Activities

AJ davens (acts as a cantor) on the Yamim Noraim (Jewish high holidays) and layning (reading the bible portion) on Simchat Torah, and enjoys acting as ba’al tefilla and chazzan when he travels to various communities for training.

AJ operates a travel booking service (for utilizing frequent flyer points) utilizing the years of experience he has from his extensive travel experiences.

Other hobbies include Japanese animation art (cel) collecting, and fishing.