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Dodgers' Jewish connection - the field, fans, franks, and the front-office

Brooklyn transplant, Phil Benjamin, tells Jewish friend L.A.-native Bill Silver,
before relocating in 1960, he spent his teens attending nearly all Brooklyn
Dodgers games at Ebbets Field prior to following the team to LA in 1960
by Scott Jacobs

During the 1940's and '50's, Brooklyn was one of the Jewish capitals of the world. 
Gerald Eskanazi, a former N.Y. Times sportswriter wrote in The Forward in 2011: "Sixty summers ago, almost to the day, the Dodgers of my Brooklyn were baseball’s greatest team. . . . And they were the most Jewish, even when they weren’t.

In my mind, the Brooklyn Dodgers paralleled the Jewish experience in America: Humble beginnings. Years of struggle. Being made fun of. And then, in the 1940s and early ’50s, attaining the mainstream. No longer an object of derision, but of respect."

After challenging the Yankees in the 1955 and '56 World Series' (victorious over them in '55) the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles after the 1957 season.

"Yes, goes the saying, “It’s hard to be a Jew.” But, ah, to be Jewish and a Dodger fan — that is exquisite in its complexity."
Sandy Koufax gives Shawn Green tips at Dodger Stadium
- Gerald Eskenazi, "Sixty Summers Ago, Dodgers Dream Died for a Jewish Boy" The Forward, August 2011

The legendary boys of summer became the ghosts of Flatbush. Dodgers Sandy Koufax in the '60's and Shawn Green in the 2000's became the pride of Jews from L.A. to New York City. (Both even declined to play post-season games which fell on Yom Kippur). But after Green left for Arizona in 2004, Jewish fans had little visible representation on the Dodgers.
Andrew Friedman, Pres. Baseball Ops  and Stan Kasten, Pres./ CEO
(Photo: Wally Skalij/L.A. Times)

Not until new Dodger owners, Guggenheim Partners introduced Stan Kasten (and Andrew Friedman in 2014) to the front-office a few years ago, Jewish interest was revived. These star-player salaried ($ millions per year) helped manage the Dodgers into the post-season in 3 of the past 4 years. And this year, they're on pace to tie the M.L.B. record for wins in a season. And they just acquired Curtis Granderson from the Mets. 

C.M.O. Lon Rosen puts M.O.T., Dodger honcho, Stan Kasten onto JooTube
So while the live klezmer music playing before Dodger Stadium's Jewish Community Day last weekend may have felt haimish for their fans receiving Hebrew Dodger caps, for some of the front-office management- it seemed to feel like their simcha (celebration).
Joc Pederson, Dodgers' sole Jewish player, autographs for fans before the game

Before the game, we spoke with Dodgers' Chief Marketing Officer, Lon Rosen, who jokingly tried to interview Stan Kasten on JooTube. Pop-singer Elliott Yamin, whose father comes from Israel, sang the national anthem for the third time this season.  Klezmer musicians are clarinetist Leo Chelyapov, percussionist, Todd Tatum, and fiddler on the field, Mivan Miller. The Dodgers' publicity department provided us with a pre-taped interview of the Dodgers sole Jewish player, power-hitting outfielder Joc Pederson (born of a Jewish mother). Pederson speaks with pride about his playing on Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic in 2012 and his familial affinity for Israel, a destination he intends to visit as his brother did. 

The Jewish Community Day was also special in that group sales had brought so many Jewish fans to the stadium, that Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausages (in its second full season at the ball park) was expanded from its regular stand on Field-Level behind the right field scoreboard- to a second location- in the upper Reserve Section for just that day.

The ordinarily camera-shy Jeff Rohatiner spoke about his preference in mustards- and his hope, expressed by many fans, that the stadium establish at least one permanent kosher frank location for fans on a level above Field Level, closer to home plate. 

Chief Marketing Officer, Lon Rosen tells us that Yeshiva High-School graduate Stan Kasten was instrumental in getting the longtime hold-out Dodgers to satisfy kosher fans' requests to add glatt kosher franks at the stadium. We're wondering what's taking so long for the Dodgers to make hot-dog sauerkraut available at additional vendors around the stadium (as New York stadiums do) considering the fact, as interviewee David Geller reminds us, that Jeff's is closed for Shabbat Fridays and Saturdays, as well as on Jewish holidays- which come up this year during the regular season.

Let's hope that the acquisition of Granderson will make it easier should the non-observant Joc Pederson ask for days to not play on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, should he desire to do so. 

Lessons of Israeli withdrawal from Gaza on its 12th anniversary

Gush Katif residents attempt to resist I.D.F. withdrawal process in 2005
'Since 2005, JooTube has reported on Israel's withdrawal of 1,800 Jewish families from Gaza to show the world prospects of peaceful co-existence from both Israel and the Palestinian Muslims. Neither Gaza's Hamas, nor the Judea/ Samarian P.L.O. kleptocrats (Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashaal, Ismail Haniyeh, and Musa abu Marzook) have lessened their abscondable humanitarian-aid racket (generated through impoverishing their people, preaching irredentist jihad against the Jews, launching terror against Israelis to provoke retaliatory strikes, the damage from which they exploit to elicit more abscondable foreign aid). The news photos and video damns the Jewish state in international eyes, creating enmity towards Zionism, Israel, Jews which leads to prejudice, vandalism, and violence in the Diaspora. 

Joachim Schroeder, the producer of "Chosen but Excluded: The Hate on Europe's Jews" which exposes Palestinian financial corruption keeping UNWRA aid from the public, keeping the conflict alive- spoke with JooTube about European TV's reneging on airing his documentary and the reticence of it being shown by any European broadcaster. 

'Disengagement - a failed strategic laboratory experiment'

Gush Katif expulsion commander General (Res.) Gershon Hacohen calls to learn lessons from operation that expelled thousands of Jews.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Ha-Cohen  (Photo: Hagi Hoberman)
IDF Major General (Res.) Gershon Hacohen, who commanded the expulsion of Gaza's Jews, spoke with journalist Nechama Duweck on Army Radio on the 12th anniversary of the "Disengagement Plan" in which over eight thousand Jews were expelled from their homes. "The disengagement was a strategic laboratory experiment, one which worsened the security situation," admitted Hacohen.

Hacohen called for lessons to be drawn from the failed plan and noted that a similar withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would be as dangerous as the withdrawal from Gush Katif.

He said that the withdrawal not only did not improve Israel's security situation but worsened it, and not only did it not benefit Israel internationally, the withdrawal entangled the Jewish State in three Gaza Strip IDF operations.

Hacohen was asked whether in retrospect he would refuse such an order and answered that he opposes refusal because insubordination means an attack on the hegemony of the IDF over its soldiers. Despite the pain, he reminded the interviewer that the IDF "is a mechanism for protecting our existence" and suggested instead internalizing that uprooting Jews is a "catastrophe."

What peace would come to Israel through Washington's renewed attempt to create a state for Islamist Palestine? Israel Hayom published this analysis by Israeli Amb. Yoram Ettinger revealing "The P.A.- North Korean Connection.

... the systematic and elaborate ‎geo-strategic cooperation, since 1966, between one of the most repressive, ‎terroristic and anti-U.S. regimes in the world and the Palestinian terror ‎organizations, which have been systematically anti-American, role models of ‎international and intra-Arab terrorism, subversion and treachery. Similarly to ‎North Korea, they forged alliances with the USSR and the ruthless East ‎European communist regimes, collaborated with Iran's ayatollahs, fomenting ‎egregious systems of hate-education, incitement and repression. ...

According to the official newspaper of the North Korean ‎Workers' Party, the Palestinian Embassy to North Korea (one of only 24 ‎embassies in the country) issued a statement expressing Abbas' praise of the current and ‎previous tyrants for "devoting [themselves] to freedom and people's ‎happiness." Such praise reflects Abbas' own track record of hate-education, terrorism and violation of civil liberties, providing more evidence ‎of the nature of the proposed Palestinian state'" Read More

For 10 days beginning August 15th, 2005, Israelis and global viewers watched Israeli soldiers forcibly carry off the settlers. The events coincided with investigations into Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for fraud. At the time, TheRebel.media's Israeli correspondent Igal Hecht documented the events known as "the Gaza Disengagement." Hecht speaks with former residents about their experiences. Many remain unemployed and living in temporary housing. The Disengagement was supposed to bring peace, but the opposite occurred: Hamas took over Gaza, using it as a launching point for attacks on Israel.

It has long been interpreted that Israel's government never properly relocated the Gush Katif community families as a warning to not resist prospective withdrawal from Judea / Samaria for a Palestinian when it comes.

12 years after Gaza disengagement, families still living in ‘caravillas’ YNet Aug. 10, 2017

160 evacuated Gaza Jewish families still reside in temporary
caravillas such as this in Amatzia (Photo:Efraim Bar-el)
Dozens of families evacuated from Gush Katif in the summer of 2005 have yet to receive permanent housing instead of the prefabricated mobile homes that were built as a temporary solution. ‘We have encountered almost every possible bureaucratic barrier,’ one of the evacuees says, calling on the state to ‘conduct a serious self-examination.’ Read More

L.A. Dodgers reciprocate love, accomodating ethnic-minority, Jewish community with kosher hot-dogs at 2 stands on Jewish Community Day

Rabbi Jason Weiner and Calif. Nat'l Guard
Lt. David Becker open the game
How well does Americas 2nd most populous Jewish city reciprocate the love from their Jewish fans? Dodger Stadium held its first, full-season offering kosher diners hot frankfurters at home ballgames in 2016.

Jewish Community Day is part of the Dodgers marketing to regional ethnic groups. L.A. Dodgers V.P. of Ticket Sales, David Siegel discussed their annual Jewish Community Day with JooTube in the accompanying videos.

Dr. Adam Silver shows how fans pray from Hebrew tablets
The Los Angeles Dodgers recognize their Jewish-American fans in their ethnic community marketing. Two chaplains, Rabbi Jason Weiner and Lt. David Becker, participating in the pre-game activities, discuss the Jewish community's connection to the Dodgers.

Joc Pederson generously signs autographs before game-time
Currently, centerfielder, Joc Pederson, is the only Jewish player on the Dodgers, but Jews serve in notable front-office roles, such as Andrew Friedman, Pres of Baseball Operations, and Stan Kasten, Pres & CEO.

More in-depth interview with Dodgers' V.P. of Ticket Sales, David Siegel, along with some shenanigans from fellow Jewish-Angeleno, E.V.P. & Chief Marketing Officer, Lon Rosen.

David Siegel, VP of Ticket Sales, discusses Dodgers' outreach
The 2017 Jewish Community Day will be held Sunday, August 13th vs the San Diego Padres. Tickets include a Dodger cap in Hebrew.

David Goldshan's 30-Years After friends' got Hebrew t-shirts
Jewish Community Day attracts synagogue and cultural groups
says Tanaz Golshan of Iranian-Jewish, "30-Years After"
Temples and cultural groups often buy tickets in blocks- which brings people (such as single females) who might not ordinarily come to a game on their own during the season. Iranian-Jewish group, 30-Years After is one such group, its members David Gobahar and Tanaz Golshan explained.

In an interview with JooTube in a prior season, the famous L.A. sports radio host, Vic "the Brick" Jacobs discussed the Jewish angles of his relationships with various Dodger players'- primarily centering around their dining idiosyncracies. (Ironically, Vic was diagnosed with stage three colorectal cancer in March 2017 and we wish him a complete recovery of body and spirit).

Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausages can be found in the Right Field Pavilion and on Jewish Community Day, also on the Left-Field Reserve, Level 31 above 3rd Base.

Kosher families wait for Jeff to serve his glatt kosher hot-dogs
(Thanks to http://Cedar-Audio.com of Cambridge, England for their assistance in reducing the stadium noise in some of the interview footage above).