Jewish Ball Player Most Likely To Cure Cancer, and More
Craig Breslow, an Oakland Athletics relief pitcher, has been called the smartest man in baseball more than once. And after graduating from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and nearly matriculating at NYU’s medical school, the title isn’t necessarily unwarranted.
But Breslow, a “proud” Jew and New Haven native, is getting some publicity for a different, if not entirely unrelated, moniker: the baseball player most likely to cure cancer. Since starting his Strike 3 Foundation for cancer research two years ago, Breslow has raised over $250,000 and helped Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital fund a pediatric bone marrow program. For his efforts, he’s the A’s nominee for the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes on-field achievement in tandem with off-field humanitarianism.
“I don’t think I could have the success at one without the other,” Breslow told Yahoo! Sports. “The work I do off the field isn’t necessarily a distraction, but it makes me realize there are more important things than getting an out or giving up a hit. And I’ve noticed the more success I have on the field, the more response to our cause.”
Breslow’s interest in cancer research, in fact his entire medical career, was spurred by his sister’s (winning) battle with thyroid cancer. It seems unlikely Breslow will actually win the award — it’s usually given to more well-known players — but for what it’s worth, his efforts are unique, among athletes, in that he’s contributing to scientific research.
There’s more news out of the Jewish baseball world these days, and it’s sure to draw a collective cringe from Jewish fans of the Washington Nationals.
Jason Marquis, perhaps baseball’s most accomplished active Jewish pitcher (hey, winning 11 games a year from 2004 to 2009 is nothing to sniff at), will take the ball Friday night, on Kol Nidre, and start against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fine, Marquis, who’s been injured most of the season, signed a two-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, so he’s got something to prove. And there’s precedent: He pitched on Yom Kippur while with the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs.
“Your team expects you to do your job and not let your teammates down, and that’s the approach I take,” he said.
Given the Nationals’ typical cellar-dwelling season, let’s hope shul-going fans have other things on their mind.
"The Rabbis in the Talmud spoke of the necessity of both sinai and oker harim, that is both those who collected traditions that were handed down and also those who literally “overturned mountains.” Essentially, the one group would not survive without the other. It is in the radical interpretations of the given traditions, and in the broad and fluent knowledge of the traditions that one is able to create radical new interpretations."— Dr. Aryeh Cohen
""I have never felt that repentence, prayer, and tzedakah would change my fate. Rather, I feel that through honest reflection, refinement, and a sense of responsibility, I do have incredible power to affect the decree for others.""— Cantor Ellen Dreskin
"Teshuvah does invite us to begin again, but not from the beginning. Part of what it means to be human is to learn how to begin again and again – from right where we are, right in the messy middle of things. The Torah, according to an ancient midrash, reminds us of this truth by opening the story of creation itself with the letter Bet…Even when we have rolled the parchment scroll as far back as it will go, the letter Bet meets us there -- insisting that this story cannot be told from the very beginning. No story can. Beginnings elude us."— Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
"This year our theme at Temple Emanuel Beverly Hills is “If not Now, When?” and we asked congregants to tweet their responses to #innwtebh or to fill out cards filling in the blanks :“If not now, when will I….” We will prepare these ‘intentions for the year” in a similar way, as a power point presentation scrolling quietly on the screen facing the congregation as individuals come forward silently in front of the open ark before neilah."— Rabbi Laura Geller