By Oren Kaunfer and Jared Matas
As in baseball, numbers have always held mystical power in Judaism.
Every spring, Jewish baseball fans look to the calendar and know it’s time to start counting – counting the days from Pesach to Shavuot, from opening day to the All-Star break.
At JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, we like to connect our dual interests in sports and the Jewish calendar by counting the Omer using the JCDS New England Sports Star Omer Counter. For every day of the Omer, we celebrate a New England sports star – or stars – who wear (or wore) that day’s number. We start at Day One with Bobby Doerr, celebrate Red Auerbach on day two, Day 12 is Yom Brady. You get the idea.
This year, as we progressed through both the baseball season and the Jewish calendar we noticed something rather interesting. It started on Thursday night, May 5th, the thirteenth day of the Omer or, as it’s known at JCDS, ‘Yom Hanley Ramirez.’ Avid Sox fans may remember that in the third inning Ramirez, number 13, crushed a homerun to put the Sox up 4-1 over the White Sox.
Then, on Sunday May 8th, in the first inning, just as the sun was setting over Yankee Stadium and fifteenth day of the Omer was coming to a close, Boston’s number 15, Dustin Pedroia, clobbered a two run homerun to help the Red Sox sweep their New York rivals. This made us wonder. Could there be some cosmic connection between the homer and the Omer?
Chatter picked up in the halls as we eagerly awaited day 25 – Jackie Bradley Jr. It fell on this past Wednesday and some lost faith when J.B.J. was homerless in the 1st game of a day-night double-header. But just under the wire, in the 1st inning twilight of the night game, Jackie turned on the Omer power and blasted a homerun to help the Sox beat the Royals.
Now all eyes are on Big Papi, the last active Sox star on our list. On Friday, May 27th, the 34th day of the Omer, David Ortiz and the Red Sox play the Blue Jays in Toronto. Will the power of the Omer Homer continue to bless the Sox? At JCDS, we are counting on it!
“You shall count off seven weeks; start to count the seven weeks when the sickle is first put to the standing grain.” (Deuteronomy 16:9)
“Ninety feet between home plate and first base may be the closest man has ever come to perfection.” Red Smith