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What a week of sports this has been! Yesterday, both our boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams won league championships when they defeated The Waring School in penalty kicks at the end of the game. It was truly a great day for the Gann athletic program and for our whole community. And last Sunday night, of course, our Red Sox won their second World Series in three years! Some of you might know how passionate I am about sports, and particularly about the relationship between sports, religion and the human experience. On Monday I shared some of these thoughts with our students and faculty, and I want to share them again with you this week.
As I reflected on my experience watching the Red Sox last Sunday night, I had several insights into what it means to be a Red Sox fan, as well as into Gann Academy’s mission and the meaning of a Jewish education. Early last Sunday I felt a strong need to watch the game Sunday night with my father. I made my family pack up and schlep to my parents’ house for the night so we could watch the game together as a family (I grew up and my parents still live in the North Shore, by the way). As the game progressed and it seemed clear we would win, my father and I both 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 for me 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 Rex 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 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 with my son connected me to my future, a future that I am helping to create 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. But Jewish education is about more than looking back. When we learn together, pray together, celebrate together, especially in our unique pluralistic community, we are, as Mike Timlin said, making history.
I feel blessed to be a part of Jewish history and to be making history with all of you.
Rabbi Marc Baker