I am delighted to welcome Marty Lurie back to B’nai Israel for “Inning 3” a third visit connecting values and principles inherent in Judaism with analogies you find in life, i.e. particularly baseball. In the first year we explored analogies between Judaism and Baseball in terms of the importance of community.
Last year we explored the theme of Ritual as it applies to Judaism and Baseball and Marty cleverly reflected the overlap of baseball’s ebb and flow of a season with the cycle of holiday observances that are inherent in Judaism.
I suspect that as much as people enjoy and find comfort in Jewish ritual, many associate it with notions of rote, repetition, boredom and doing observances in a mindless way. In drawing analogies from rituals people find in baseball, we have a context and opportunity to look anew at Judaism’s ways of sanctifying time and through its rituals smoothing out life’s rough edges.
This year, our guest and I will share dialogue on the power of memory, looking for connections even as we invite audience participation (as Marty does in his weekend shows on KNBR 680 before and after Giants games). What memories do you have of special times in your life from the worlds of Judaism and baseball… times shared with family and friends…from your childhood, youth, and young adulthood? Such reflections will help us prepare for the Days of Awe that await us in a few short weeks, even as baseball heads toward the climax of its season.
Both Judaism and baseball remind us that, day by day, we each weave new memories, connecting past to future and enabling the next generation to have such connections as we continue through life’s journey.
Drawing such connections is important in that Judaism, as well as baseball, accentuates the power and significance of memory. On Rosh Hashanah, unlike New Year’s Day (with its theme of “out with the old and in with the new”), we look back closely on the year that was, learning lessons from the past to shed light on new possibility for the future. While, as we go to print, the Giants are not showing the promise of championship they have experienced in these past few years, our team, in playing out the year, will be looking to learn from the shortcomings of this year to make next year better, with hopes of returning to championship caliber play. Jewishly, we are always looking to the future, to build on the past with hopes and dreams of moving into an era of Shalom, of Peace and Wholeness, even as such dreams seem to be at times so elusive and distant.
So, enjoy this visit with Marty Lurie. It promises to be a fun and engaging way to prepare for the Days of Awe while reminding us that Judaism in its healthiest and strongest modes is connected to daily life in its most common and everyday moments. The joy in drawing these analogies, whether Judaism and Baseball and their ways of creating community or how they
both incorporate ritual, and now, with Inning Three, the power of memory, is in seeing more clearly that Judaism is not an isolated system. Rituals, practices, lessons and teachings are all intended to awaken us to life’s richness in all its varieties and nuances. If Baseball is America’s Favorite Pastime, i.e Game, then Judaism is God’s way (from the Jewish point of view) for us to appreciate Life as God’s Game for all of us to play, on our various teams, seeing and celebrating together life’s amazing blessings.
So come to the “ball park” at CBI and play the game with Marty and me on August 15, part of summer’s way of readying us for the rituals of renewal, associated with the month of Elul in August, leading to the new year as we welcome it ritually with the Days of Awe, and who knows, maybe some “miracles” as we dream of the Giants still finding a way of doing what they did
in 2010 and last year.