He plays on shabbos but won’t shower in hot water!
Aaron Liberman is a winner, for sure. His family is a winner.
His grandfather, Jose Liberman, I believe was selling appliances in Latino neighborhoods in the 1970s and came up with the ingenious idea to have a radio station in Los Angeles in Spanish (I know it sounds pretty obvious, but at the time, the Latino community in LA was completely unserved by any media almost at all and totally discriminated against by the powers that be). It did well, and when Fernando Valenzuela pitched for the Dodgers, Liberman hired a Spanish broadcaster to do Dodger games. The listenership went through the roof.
A radio station chain came to him and made him a very very nice offer to buy his station. In the negotiations, they insisted on one key provision – that Jose Liberman not compete with them after the sale – they feared that Jose, being the very smart Jew that he is, would open up a new radio station using his connections in the Latino community, and proceed to kick their butt.
Jose signed and agreed not to compete. But he had the last laugh (one of many). He simply gave some money to his son, Lenard, who inherited both his Dad’s brains and about an additional foot in height (I think Leonard is at least 6 foot 4). Lenard then started a Spanish language radio station (I think 3 or 4), and expanded it into Spanish language TV. The family has made some good money. The goyim who bought Jose’s station were mighty pissed but nothing in the contract said that Lenard could not compete.
They have donated quite alot to Jewish institutions – they funded a major portion of the expansion of the Valley’s largest Orthodox Shul with a six figure donation when that was real money – Shaarey Zedek – the only thing ever with their name on it to my knowledge is a plaque on the building, I believe in honor of Jose Liberman’s parents.
They used to singlehandedly make payroll for the old Valley Torah High School, and but for the Libermans, the school would not have survived. I think the Libermans were honored at a banquet there. They are very understated and do not seek honors.
Lenard is unfortunately not a supporter of Shaarey Zedek – he is a bit more right wing and supports a competing shul in the valley. I understand that he is a primary supporter of that new Shul, but again, the family’s name is not anywhere to be found.
Aaron is a good kid – he was tall from a very young age – I think he had to have a special lounge chair put in for him to sit in class in the 8th grade when he already was over 6 feet tall. He has the drive and you can see it on the highlight reel. If basketball does not work out, there is always spanish language broadcasting.
However, Liberman has decided, after much reflection and consultation with rabbis, to play on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. On one Saturday afternoon, he walked eight miles to practice.
“Actually, playing basketball is not breaking any of the 39 laws of the Sabbath,” he said. “But I’ll only be taking cold showers afterward because you can’t use hot water.”
Liberman grew up in Valley Village, an area of northwestern Los Angeles, where he was discovered almost by happenstance by Josh Moore, a former N.B.A. player and a cousin of Shaquille O’Neal’s. During the summer after Liberman’s freshman year, Moore saw him play in a scrimmage and approached him, noting that his length and natural athleticism would be attractive to college coaches.
Lenard Liberman, Aaron’s 6-6 father, played high school basketball and tried unsuccessfully to walk on at Stanford. His son, thoughtful and soft-spoken, preferred games of a slower pace. He fished as a child and played some baseball as he grew older.