PHILADELPHIA â€“ Kevin Youkilis does not know what he would do if faced with the same dilemma as Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and Shawn Green.
That, at least, is what the Boston Red Sox infielder says when asked what he would do if his American League team found itself in a post-season game on Yom Kippur, which begins this year at sundown on Friday, October 7.
Neither Greenberg, the Hall of Fame first baseman for the Detroit Tigers in 1934, nor the L.A. Dodgers’ ace left-hander Koufax, were particularly observant, but they both chose not to play on Yom Kippur, the most solemn on the Jewish calendar.
In Koufax’s case, it meant missing the opening game of the 1965 World Series. In 2004, with the Dodgers fighting for first place, Green chose not to play the evening game, but he did play on Yom Kippur afternoon.
For the 32-year-old Youkilis, a two-time all-star who is currently among the American League’s leading run-producing hitters, it would be a tough decision. “I don’t put religion into sports,” Youkilis said in an interview here. “I consider religion entirely different, so I don’t bring it to the field. I’ve never played on Yom Kippur.”
Youkilis acknowledged that there is likely to be a “lot of pressure” from at least some parts of the Jewish community not to play. “But you have to stick with your beliefs,” he said. “You can’t worry about people who aren’t influential in your life who say things or tell you you’re wrong.”
Philadelphia Jewish Exponent
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