Who’s on first at the Game at the Corners? The Rabbi.

Who’s on first at the Game at the Corners?  The Rabbi.
On first. Rabbi Daniel Schon of the Light of Israel synagogue (1675 Monroe Avenue.) [Photo: David Kramer]

For decades, ballplayers have gathered at the Brighton school fields for a Sunday Pick Up game: “The Game at the Corners.”   Over the last two years, we have humbly and light heartedly attempted to immortalize some of the games. FULL SERIES AT END

Rabbi 1

Rabbi Daniel Schon of the Light of Israel synagogue (1675 Monroe Avenue.)

Over the decades, many of the players have attended the same synagogue or belonged to the Jewish Community Center. So – while of course the game is open to all who love softball for the fun of it – we’ve attracted a lot of Jewish players. This season we had what was probably a first for the game: a Rabbi.  Rabbi Daniel Schon of the Light of Israel synagogue on 1675 Monroe Avenue.

Dani moved to Rochester from Cincinnati in August 2016 and heard about the game from Rabbi Avi Mammon.  He’s been a steady third baseman all summer, although sometimes he has to leave the game early to teach a class at the JCC.  Interestingly, Dani might be another first: the first male to have played softball in high school. I learned that in Queens where Dani grew up, Jewish schools don’t offer baseball.  Instead, there is a boys softball league. So Dani had a head start on the rest of us.

I caught up with Dani before the game for batting and infield practice. He is so committed to his rabbinical calling that even plays in his formal outfit!  I asked a few questions.

Our game is a very friendly one. We don’t have an umpire. Instead, players make the calls and a collective decision is reached. Everyone is expected to be unbiased, and almost always are. As a Rabbi, are you especially able to put objectivity over personal passion.  Would a Rabbi make a good umpire?

While rabbis are trained to be objective, they are also disqualified from ruling on any dispute in which they have a personal bias. So, while  I try my hardest to be totally honest, I don’t claim that my opinion is better than other people’s because I am a Rabbi. 

Before each game, we break down into two teams. A few have jokingly said they want you on their side because of your potential connection to a “higher power.” Do you put any credence in their claim?

🙂 – I think we are all connected to a higher power 🙂

Rabbi 2

Rabbi Daniel Schon of the Light of Israel synagogue (1675 Monroe Avenue.)

You have seven months until next season. What’s your training regime?

I play tennis to get some exercise and to keep up my hand eye coordination. 

Do you have any favorite Jewish baseball players, past or present?

Sandy Koufax – people still remember his refusal to pitch in game one of the ’65 wold series which fell out on Yom Kippur. I think that reminded many American Jews of the importance of Yom Kippur. 

UPDATE: reader and longtime Corner’s player Michael Raff adds:

As a matter of rabbinical note, many years ago Rabbi Vogel joined in for a few games using his background in cricket.

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About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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