Red Sox, Jewish Education, and Making History

1 November 2013  
29 Cheshvan 5774  
Shalom Chaverim,  

As a fourth generation Red Sox fan, I am elated. The “road to redemption” was quite a ride. Wednesday night, in the middle of the fourth inning, I looked at my three oldest children and had a spontaneous idea. “Kids, get your shoes on,” I said. “We’re driving to Grammy’s right now to watch this game with her.” My 91 year-old grandmother was watching the game alone in her Medford apartment, and I wanted my children to watch the Red Sox win a World Series with their great-grandmother.  


As we were driving to her house with the game on the car radio, the broadcaster said, “Get ready. You might witness something tonight that your parents have not seen, your grandparents have not seen, your great-grandparents have not seen.” If the spiritual-communal significance of the experience was lost on anyone, I want to share the words of my friend Zev, who sent me a text message late last night:  

 “It is not just a sport. We are not just fans. If one imbues something with family, hope, faith, glory, love, struggle, yearning, joy, and gratitude with enough patience, that thing can become more—it can be elevated above a game. Red Sox nation went through a bombing and a hundred years of shared memories and history. Tonight we can all mark the calendars that we were part of something that began before us, something that we hope our children, too, will cry about and that we hope will connect them to their loved ones (as it does us to ours).”  

 Inspired by Zev’s words, I want to share an excerpt from the weekly email I sent after we won the 2007 World Series, as well as a link to my recent blog post about “The Old Red Sox.” 

Shabbat Shalom, and Go Sox!  

Rabbi Marc Baker  


Adapted Excerpt from Weekly Email from November 2, 2007 
As I reflect on my experience watching the Red Sox last Sunday night, I think about how being a Red Sox fan connects to Gann Academy’s mission and the meaning of a Jewish education. Early last Sunday I felt a strong need to watch the fourth game with my father. I made my family pack up and schlep to my parents’ house for the night so we could all watch the game together. As the game progressed, and it seemed clear we would win, both my father and I felt the strong need to watch the final inning with my five-year-old son. It meant waking him up in the middle of the night, and we knew that he probably would not remember it the next day, but there was something transcendent about watching the game sitting next to my father who was holding my son on his lap.  
Where does my longing for this intergenerational baseball experience come from? Driving to school Monday morning, I heard an interview with Red Sox reliever, Mike Timlin, whose words helped me understand my experience. When asked what it was like to win a World Series title in Boston, he commented on how special Boston is because you really feel like you are part of history. He added, “And right now we are also making history.” Mike Timlin’s comments and the image of my family’s three generations watching baseball together captured for me the power of Red Sox Nation and of our school’s intergenerational mission.  
Watching the game with my father connected me to my past, my history. And watching the game with my son connected me to my future, a future that we are all creating right now. As Jews, we are constantly looking back—to previous generations and to Jewish history—to understand where we come from and to make sense of our place in this world. And Jewish education is about more than looking back, more than the continuity of the past. We need to inspire the next generation to look forward toward our shared future with optimism and hope. We want our students not just to learn history. We want them to witness history and, most importantly, to make history, to create a better future for the Jewish People and the world.  


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