Rabbi Yaakov Jaffe’s Message

Dear Coaches, Players, Parents, Teachers, and Visitors,

Welcome to the Fifth Ezra Schwartz Memorial Baseball Tournament. This tournament and Shabbaton weekend is a tremendous opportunity to honor’s Ezra’s memory, and unite around things that Ezra z”l held dear – friendship and teamwork, the relaxation of Shabbat, Jewish Unity and Community, and of course baseball. Jewish teens from across the country come together and to realize that wherever we might live, the common values that unite us run deep.

Towards the end of their Senior Year, many of our Maimonides School seniors begin to take it easy, to drive home before the traffic if their classes end early, to spend time hanging-out in the student lounges. It was a spin-of-the-wheel when we approached Ezra – then my Hebrew Language student at the end of his senior year- and asked if he wanted to come to our home and help teach our son baseball during one of his free periods. It was so much in character when Ezra flashed his wide smile and graciously agreed. His coming to our home would allow him to simultaneously fulfil both his passion for baseball and also his passion for hanging out with little kids and helping them learn and grow. Ezra always had place and time for TV and video games (he once wrote a Hebrew essay about watching 13 hours of football one day thanks to the London games), but he would so much rather play baseball and help a little kid, than just hang out or play video games somewhere.

The young boys who were in elementary school then are now graduating seniors, and will take the ball-field as Maimonides M-Cats in Ezra’s memory.  They looked up to Ezra when he taught them how to play, and now they play on fulfilling that legacy.

This tournament honors his vision, his commitments, and his values.

Yaakov Jaffe
Ezra’s BH teacher – Grade 9
Ezra’s Navi teacher – Grade 10
Ezra’s Ivrit teacher – Grade 12

Rabbi of the Maimonides Kehilla
Dean of Judaic Studies
Maimonides School

Maimonides graduates 2019 on their gap year in Israel on Ezra’s 4th Yartzeit visiting Oz V’Gaon ( ז כסליו )

Rocks painted for Ginat Oz Ezra at
Oz V’Gaon ( Dec 2019 )