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Jews in Sports? It’s a Fantasy…Camp

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

The famous joke goes: “One person asks, ‘did you hear someone published a book about Jews in sports?’ and the other person says, ‘yeah, it’s a pamphlet.'” With a few exceptions, Jews are not so well-represented on the athletics side of the sports field. Sandy Koufax made a stir by refusing to play ball on Yom Kippur, but for traditionally observant Jews, there are other days of the year that provide conflict for the would-be professional sports player. I can tell you that the yeshiva boys I went to elementary and high school with weren’t encouraged to pursue sports as a profession for lots of reasons, chief among them was that it was impossible to stay traditionally Jewish during a traditional sports season: there would be travel and games on Shabbat and holidays, and food wasn’t likely to be kosher. Why put yourself in that kind of position?
Now the JTA reports about one fantasy camp is opening its doors to kosher and Shabbat-observant fans, and of course, this could only happen in New York:

The camp schedule was adjusted so that the minor league facilities would be available Monday when everyone arrives for workouts. The last game will be on Friday morning — no one wants to play a doubleheader on Friday because we are so sore — and some Dream Games will be held Friday afternoon for those teams that have the kosher campers.
Religious services will be provided by the local Young Israel/Chabad at the hotel with strictly kosher Shabbat meals. Speakers during the Shabbat program will be Blomberg, Irwin Cohen (the first Orthodox Jewish executive to win a World Series ring), David Fishof (the original Orthodox sports agent), and Paul Cohen (an Orthodox sports agent).

What do you think?
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