Thursday, July 21, 2011

Youkilis and Yom Kippur

This year, just like last year, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur falls Friday night into Saturday night right after the baseball playoffs have started.

Kevin Youkilis has a decision to make. An important one that has been made by Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, and Shawn Green.
Kevin Youkilis says he truly doesn't know what he'd do if faced with the same dilemma as Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and Shawn Green.

What if the Boston Red Sox are scheduled for a post-season game on Yom Kippur, which begins Friday night, Oct. 7.[...]

For the 32-year-old Youkilis, a two-time all-star currently among the American League RBI leaders, it would be a tough decision.

"I don't put religion into sports," Youkilis said last week during the Red Sox's three-game series in Philadelphia, which many believe to be a World Series preview. "I consider religion entirely different, so I don't bring it to the field.

"I've never played on Yom Kippur," Youkilis added. "Hopefully if we were playing, it would be a night game, not a day game."

He acknowledged a "lot of pressure" from the Jewish community not to play. "But you have to stick with your beliefs. You can't worry about people who aren't influential in your life who say things or tell you you're wrong.

"I know Shawn Green had a tough time with it. It just depends upon the community. In Boston, they probably don't even care. They'd want you to play."

For the kid who grew up in Cincinnati rooting for the Reds, who dutifully went to Hebrew school through Bar Mitzvah ("It was a long Haftorah," he recalls), before his parents allowed him to concentrate on baseball, playing in Boston has both its perks and drawbacks.

While you're an instant celebrity everywhere you turn, it also means you don't have much privacy, including at synagogue.

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