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Like any good Jew, Shawn Green had to wander the desert for a few years before coming to the Promised Land. The All-Star outfielder, who was traded to the New York Mets yesterday after playing his last seven seasons in Los Angeles and Arizona, will become the first Jewish player in New York, the U.S. city with the highest concentration of Jews, since Dave Roberts, who pitched briefly for the Mets in 1981 (though more locals likely remember pitcher Ken Holtzman of the late ’70s Yankees).

The Green trade had been brewing for a while, and, in a time of relatively few Jewish ballplayers, Jewish New Yorkers have been relishing the possibility of a high profile player of their faith. “Mazel tov and zei gesund. I’ll gladly have him over to break bread at my Shabbos table anytime,” wrote “n8genius” on Metsblog.com earlier this month. “He can stay for the High Holy days here in Brooklyn, and I’ll even put on Tefilin with him everday if he hits. Please, a Jew on the Mets would be a pleasure no words could express.”

After the trade, Green himself, using athletes’ practiced bland-speak, signaled similar feelings: “Had I played my whole career and never played in New York, I always would have wondered what it was like.”

Before he could be traded, Green had to go through waivers–a sort of Purgatory in which a player can be claimed by any team in the league if a trade isn’t made in three days. But Green has also cleared a higher form of waivers: Yom Kippur this year is the last day of the regular baseball season, and won’t keep Green from playing in crucial playoff games.

A full list of Jewish baseball players is available here.

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