A Maine powerlifting rabbi named Braun…seriously

NOW: Powerlifting Rabbi

WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Packed inside a small gym in Westbrook, dozens are screaming and cheering as iron flies.

Dyna Maxx training systems is not the typical fitness facility. It's a powerlifting gym which hosted Maine's first-ever sanctioned female-only meet on March 11.

Among the lifters is Rabbi Carolyn Braun, who has quite the fortunate last name for the sport she competes in.

"This is one place in my life where I don't have to think," said Braun. "I just grab it and lift it and then I'm thinking -- oh my God what have I done and I hope to get to the top."

At just barely five feet tall, Braun is not the biggest, nor the strongest, but she's no stranger to standing in front of a room full of people.

Carolyn is a rabbi, and teaches classes in addition to her duties at Temple Beth El in Portland.

"I doubt the whole congregation knows [that I powerlift], but they wouldn't believe it if they really knew it."

Coach Matt Israelson said Braun is one of his most coachable clients.

"I like people to realize if you stay with this what can happen, and they're realizing some goals. That's why they're doing it. When they succeed, it's really gratifying," said Israelson. "We won't see another one -- not a rabbi of that strength."

At the gym, Braun has earned a nickname, "holy ___," a four-letter expletive that starts with 'S' -- which is what a lot of people say when they see a woman of her size lifting nearly 250 pounds.

"You feel dizzy, because you're holding your breath, but it's just like oh my God, I did it! I did it! I did it! And then you have to get it down again, and that's always kind of a hard thing, but I always end up smiling at the top."

Braun says she is also one of the first women to become a conservative rabbi in Maine.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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