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Batter Up! By Chaim Heller, Head of School

Chaim final constant contactBatter Up!

As a San Francisco Giants fan working at SDJA, I seldom have an opportunity to connect my two passions. But this year is different…

A few days ago, the Giants won a playoff game in the 9th inning, thanks to a home run by a player, Conor Gillaspie, who has been considered a major disappointment over the years. Originally a highly regarded college athlete, he let success go to his head and became known as an arrogant, selfish player. He was humbled as he bounced from team to team, until after much hard work and self-reflection, he signed a minor league contract with the Giants last February and on Thursday night found himself playing third base in the winner-take-all wild card game.

Well, we are each, in our own way, Conor Gillaspie. Who among us has not experienced success followed by failure, missteps and regret?  Indeed, most of us experience them more than we care to admit. Fortunately, Jewish tradition affords us the opportunity to reflect, recalibrate, and overcome. We call that opportunity the Ten Days of Awe, that time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Yonatan Sredni, an Israeli who grew up in California (and attended a Jewish day school in Palo Alto) writes a weekly blog on the Torah portion. This week’s entry spoke directly to me and I’d like to share part of it with you.

First, the headline from the NY Times is telling, “Conor Gillaspie’s Winning Homer Culminated a Journey of Soul-Searching”. After all, what is this period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur all about? The headline for this time of year should be: “Yom Kippur Culminates a Journey of Soul-Searching for all Jews.”

Conor Gillaspie was a ballplayer who had lost his way. But, he never gave up. He worked hard, he had people who believed in him and encouraged him, and when given the opportunity to do something great, he delivered (big time!).

We may not be major league baseball players, but we have lost our way over the past year. Regardless of our deeds over the course of the last year, during this period God gives us a chance to step into the batter’s box on the biggest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

And, unlike in baseball, God doesn’t throw us any curve balls, he gives us pitches we can handle, all we need to do is swing the bat as hard as we can and make sincere contact (he’ll do the rest).

So, what are we waiting for? Batter up!

Gmar Chatima Tova, have an easy fast.

Chaim

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