On behalf the Young Israel of Sharon and the entire Sharon community, we are excited to welcome you to the first Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball tournament! We can’t wait to ‘play ball’ and enjoy some classic spring time fun on the field.
Our dear Ezra z’tkl loved the game of baseball. Baseball is a thing of beauty, especially here in Boston. When the temperatures begin to climb and the sun hangs in the sky a little longer, almost every kid, little or big, takes out their glove, puts it on, punches it in and tosses up a ball into the air to catch it. This is the classic spring time ritual that transports kids to dream forward about playing in the majors and transports adults to dream backwards about playing ball in little league or in high school.
Baseball slows life down and makes it more enjoyable. We put down our devices and enjoy each other’s company, with some healthy competition in the mix. Friendships are formed sitting on the bench or in the stands. Memories are made through dramatic plays and unexpected come backs.
The culture of baseball, as described above, is one that embraces the goodness that our dear Ezra brought to our lives. Ezra generated wholesome fun, appreciated good competition, and was a great friend.
This tournament intersects with the double Parsha of Behar-Bechukotai, which includes the concept of kinyan of acquiring material possessions. The Rabbis in Pirkei Avot use this term—kinyan—to describe the way in which we make friends: kaneh lecha chaver, acquire for yourself a friend. The Rambam asserts that specifically this term is used because it indicates the effort that one must exert in order to make good friends. Friendships don’t happen on their own; they require deep caring and compassion, great effort and energy. Ezra was the master of acquiring friends. He was a magnet who attracted people to him and kept them close.
It is in that spirit of deep friendship that we gather together as a community of baseball lovers to celebrate Ezra and his legacy as a master friend and teammate.
May we continue to be inspired by the goodness that Ezra brought to our world.
Rabbi Noah Cheses
Young Israel of Sharon