Thanks to her humble beginnings on Barbie rollerblades, Orthodox Jewish Aliza Hiller is defying stereotypes as an ice hockey player in a competitive women’s league. As a kid, she actively played basketball, softball, and floor hockey, but competitive ice hockey was not an obvious passion, rather she says, “I grew to love it.” Hiller was raised modern Orthodox in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Being that she only has sisters, the stigma around girls being meek and unathletic was non-existent; they simply had other cares and interests. Because of this, she was able to develop a non-competitive and exclusive sports’ relationship with her father, which catapulted her love for the game, reaffirming her belief that “anyone could play sports.”
During her high school years in Ma’ayanot [Teaneck, NJ], she continued involving herself in various sports clubs and activities since she’s “always loved sports, it’s been a big part of my life.” It was her great enthusiasm and skills which prompted the hockey coaches to strongly encourage her to join the team. Once high school had come to an end, she studied in Midreshet Harova in the Jewish Quarter for seminary. Throughout the year, she managed to maintain her athletic lifestyle with the help of her basketball moves. Returning from Israel, she attended Queens College and soon after realized, “I need something. I need a sport to play.” A block of scratched ice turned out to be what she needed.
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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.