I want to welcome all players, coaches, parents, relatives and friends to the Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament. We’re very excited to be hosting the varsity baseball teams of such three great schools: Atlanta Jewish Academy, SAR High School, and the Ramaz School. Our purpose in coming together over this tournament and Shabbaton is to honor the life and legacy of Ezra Schwartz through baseball, a sport that inspired Ezra to work and achieve his very best.
I met Ezra on his first day of school in the 7th grade. He had a crowd of students around him as he was recalling stories from the summer, telling jokes and entertaining everyone in his vicinity. Many who knew Ezra probably have a similar recollection of their first encounter with him. People loved Ezra and Ezra loved the company of people. That’s one of the reasons why sports were so meaningful for Ezra; competitive athletics gave him the opportunity to lead, mentor and bond with his classmates. Baseball was Ezra’s passion and the baseball field was a sacred place for him. Ezra wanted his teammates to hold baseball with the same reverence as he did. It was particularly gratifying for me to see Ezra develop a deep sense of respect for his coaches, all of whom were true role-models for him. Our varsity baseball head coach, Josh Prybyla, shared Ezra’s passion for baseball, respect for the game, and high expectations for those who wore the Maimonides M-Cat uniform. Their bond had a profound impact on Ezra’s growth into adulthood, and it is altogether fitting that Coach Prybyla lead our team in this inaugural event to honor Ezra’s indelible spirit.
Thank you to everyone who has played a role in making this meaningful event come together. I particularly want to acknowledge the vision, dedication and hard work of Ruth and Ari Schwartz, who understood that a community baseball tournament involving Jewish Day Schools would truly be the enduring honor to our leader, friend, teammate and brother, Ezra Schwartz.
Maimonides Athletics Director
Maimonides Jr. Varsity – June 2011 Ezra’s 8th grade (2nd from the right bottom row)