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September 08, 1989 - Image 60

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-08

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But most other
days, Rabbi Bruce
Aft, the southpaw
principal of UHS
High School and
Midrasha director
just keeps his glove
and ball ready to
help make a pitch
for Torah education.




ring up baseball
and Rabbi Bruce
Aft is ready to talk.
He's even ready to
play, but given his
busy schedule as principal of
the Community Jewish High
School and director of the
Midrasha College of Jewish
Studies, that doesn't happen
too often. "There's no clause
in my contract which says I
can miss evening meetings
for baseball," he jokes.
Now in his second year in
those posts, Rabbi Aft also en-
joys the distinction of being a
semi-professional baseball
pitcher — when he gets the
In fact, the left-handed-
throwing rabbi got to pitch
only once this season — when
he was used as a reliever in
the second game of a
weeknight doubleheader that
had gone into extra innings.
It was 11 p.m. before he got to
pitch, and the 6-4 lead he was
trying to protect didn't last
"We had three errors," Rab-
bi Aft said of the Dear-
born/Redford-area league
game that gave him his 0-1
record. "Two runs scored, and
not a ball left the infield. It
was like playing for the
But, he adds, "I grew up in
Chicago (with the White Sox
and the Cubs), so I'm used to
The rabbi talks baseball —
and not just scores and
statistics. He often talks
baseball with prospective
UHS students and their
parents, and so the talk runs
much deeper — the
significance of baseball in
America, and American
Jewish Life.
"If you really want to
understand the soul and
fabric of American life, you
have to understand baseball,"
Rabbi Aft says seriously.
"Next to religion, baseball
has furnished a greater im-
pact on life than any other in-
stitution in America."
Baseball, he says, is a game
of getting ready; practicing,
striving to improve, then
playing as hard as you can.
It's getting a hit or a home
run, or pitching a no-hitter —
and being a star. But it's also
never forgetting teamwork,
that the other eight players
and you must work together
to win.
Rabbi Aft says baseball
"ties into Judaism — in wan-
ting to be the best you can be.
And being part of the Jewish
tradition is being a part of an
important team."
Baseball and Judaism have
-zr, been intertwined in Rabbi
Aft's life since he was a
E . 10-year-old Little Leaguer in
0 suburban Chicago.

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