Detroit is set to make its contribution
to Little League baseball in Israel
f someone tells you the Dod-
gers won the 1987 World
Series, it means one of two
things: Either the person does
not know the difference bet-
ween the Minnesota Twins and the
Los Angeles Dodgers, or the person is
talking about Israel's Little League
Little League baseball debuted in
Israel last year. The league consisted
of 16 teams made up of boys 8 to 14
years old. Most of the teams have
names familiar to North American
sports fans, although the Schleppers
— a Jerusalem team which probably
does not steal many bases — looks
like a name unique to Israel.
Many of the teams are cultural
melting pots. For example, last year's
champions, the Dora Netanya
Dodgers, are composed of boys
originally from North America, South
Africa, England, North Africa, the
Soviet Union and Ethiopia.
Other teams feature Arab and
Jewish Israelis, or boys from religious
and non-religious families, playing
Local photographer and baseball
fan Dave Dombey witnessed the first-
ever baseball game in Israel, on April
29 of last year. Jerusalem Mayor Ted-
dy Kollek threw out the first ball for
that game, featuring players from the
Boys practicing at Jerusalem's Sachar Park.
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas.
Dombey has since been involved in ef-
forts to aid the growth of Israeli
Dombey is impressed by the
cultural diversity of the teams. He
sees baseball in Israel as "a way of
bringing not only the kids together,
but the parents. Baseball can be used
as more than just a game but a way
of bringing people together from
various cultural backgrounds!'
Mens' and womens' softball
leagues have long flourished in Israel.
But baseball has a special appeal for
North Americans. Houston native
Randy Kahn is credited with bringing
America's pastime to Israel, during a
1985 visit with his sister. Kahn
taught the game to neighborhood
children, then decided to make a
larger-scale effort after seeing how
the kids enjoyed the game. Kahn
returned in August 1986, armed with
used equipment donated by the
Houston community. The effort got off
to a rough organizational start, with
two groups eventually forming, then
merging into one earlier this year. A
man, identified by Dombey as "a pro-
minent Canadian backer" now sup-
plies new equipment to Israel's Little
Leagues. His organization helped
turn the two Israeli groups into one,
the Israel Baseball Association (IBA).
The IBA is affiated with Little
League Baseball, Inc. One of the II3A's
goals is to send a team to the Little
League World Series in Williamsport,
Pa. Another, longer-term goal is to
send a team to the Olympics, perhaps
as early as 1992.
Approximately 500 boys played
Little League baseball in Israel this
year, about twice last season's total.
Dombey and five others — Irwin
"Mr. Baseball" Cohen, Bob Sternberg,
Phillip Applebaum, William Serman
and Benno Levi — have formed a local
committee to raise funds for Israeli
The committee's goals, says
Dombey, "would be to enlist support
from the Detroit Jewish community
for the needs of the Little League
baseball program in Israel. The needs
are primarily playing fields and
Games are now played on soccer
fields or rocky, open fields. The "pro-
minent Canadian" has paid for a field
now being built in Jerusalem. There
is sufficient land available for
baseball fields, according to Stern-
berg, but it costs at least $40,000 to
Pedaling Prof. Rides For Fun, Fitness
here were many different
methods people used to beat
the heat this summer. Tak-
ing a 3-day 250-mile bicycle
trip was not one of the preferred
But Harold Josephs, associate pro-
fessor of mechanical engineering at
Lawrence Thch, did just that.
Josephs, a long-time cyclist, rode
from his Oak Park home on July 4,
pedaling to Port Huron, across the Blue
Water Bridge into Canada, then on to
Thronto. He rode 80 miles the first day,
77.5 the second and 90 the third. The
key question is, why?
"I always had an idea of going cross
country by bicycle," he begins, "except
I simply don't have the time with all
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1988
my activities and projects that we have
Josephs was supposed to be in
Hawaii on a consulting job from July
4-8, but they were not ready for him.
With the free time, he decided to visit
his daughter in Thronto — by bicycle.
Josephs carred about 70 pounds of
packs with him, including his tallis
and tefillin and two very important
water bottles. "Throughout the trip, I
was continuously concerned about
dehydration. I lost 10 pounds on the
He continues, "It was so hot there
was nobody else out."
How did he keep going? "Per-
sistence," he says with a laugh.
"You can't believe how hot it was
while I was biking . . . With my helmet
on, and riding on blacktop, which the
sun absorbs, it was hot. At one point
I had to stop for directions, and while
I was talking a puddle of sweat ac-
cumulated under me. It was a constant
stream of sweat pouring off my head."
Josephs was sane enough to take
a train from 'Ibronto back to Windsor.
From there he pedaled home.
Joseph's family has a history of
heart disease. As a teenager, a doctor
urged him to take up bicycling "if I
wanted to live past 40." Since then he
has ridden wherever he could, to
school, to work (he usually cycles the
four miles to LIT) and, of course, takes
the occasional trip. Now he is "con-
siderably over 40" (actually 51), he
says, "and I'm still here."
His next bicycling project? "What
I would probably do next is follow the
advice of my mother-in-law. (She said)
`Three days to Thronto is too much.
Therefore what I would probably do is
try to do it in two." ❑