Friday, September 24, 2004

Shawn Green

Now, a few words on Shawn Green and Yom Kippur. I think Shawn is making a mistake. He should either play both games or take both games off. Yom Kippur, like all Jewish holidays, is a sundown to sundown observance. Yom Kippur also instructs observing Jews not to wear clothing made from animal skins during the day. That means, Jews shouldn’t wear a baseball glove! Moreover, many Jews believe that Yom Kippur is the second holiest day of the year to the Sabbath. The logic there goes that the Sabbath is the only day that God rested and that it’s mentioned in the Ten Commandments. How could any day be holier? If you follow that angle, taking Yom Kippur off, but playing games on Friday nights and Saturday days is the height of hypocrisy. Lastly, like Barry Rozner wrote today, I think he’s setting himself a dangerous precedent by playing Friday, but not Saturday.

That said, one of the more amazing things about Judaism is that there really is no one to tell you the proper way to practice. There is no head rabbi a la the Pope to decree what is the way to observe. One of the reasons Jews attend services much less often the Christians is the focus the religion places on family and home observance. All that combines to make decisions Jews make about how to observe so much more different than most other religions.

Shawn says playing Friday but not playing Saturday fits best with what he and his family does for the holiday. I can see that. While attending services tonight is one of the highlights of the year in terms of spiritualness, I haven’t attended Kol Nidre services in years for a combination of reasons including getting to the synagogue on time after work to care of my young kids. In my family, we usually don’t go until the following morning. Using that example, I would be in a similar situation to Shawn.

I respect Shawn’s decisiona and his situation. If nothing else, he’s brought attention to the plight of American Jews and the decisions faced regarding work and family. Jews represent only about 3% of the nation’s population. Making Joe Sports Fan aware of one of the aspects of Judaism for a few hours cannot be a bad thing.

I wish Shawn would be consistent in his actions and play both or sit out both. But I am not criticizing his decision. In fact, I applaud him for allowing the media to question him and be part of his personal debate. L’shana Tovah (or Ceasar Tovar, if you like), Shawn. Have a fast fast.

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