Joan Roth

Record-Breaking Orthodox Weightlifter

Naomi Kutin. Photo by Joan Roth.

Naomi Kutin. Photo by Joan Roth.

Naomi Kutin, who is Orthodox, took to lifting weights at the age of eight. One year later, she set a women’s world record in weightlifting. The previous record holder had been a 44-year-old European! As Kutin began to prepare for her bat mitzvah — and the traditional gender roles that can accompany strict religious observance — award-winning documentary filmmaker Jessica Auritt stepped in to tell this coming-of-age story about how a Modern Orthodox Jewish girl becomes a superstar champion in a male-dominated sport. Fittingly, the film is called “Supergirl.”

Auritt’s film and Kutin’s incredible strength (both of character, and literal) are identifiable sources of empowerment and inspiration.