Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, and as a result of that fact I spent some time this morning weighing whether to skip out of work today. This, even though I am more or less entirely nonreligious, and don't believe in any sort of god, and feel antsy and uncomfortable whenever I am near prayer, and feel, contrarily to the popular portrayal of these activities, more guilty about attending religious services than I do about not attending them.
So it was sort of a consolation to read Greg's defense of working on Yom Kippur. Hank Greenberg, the 30s-era baseball player who became famous for refusing to play on Yom Kippur, apparently has a granddaughter named Melanie. And Melanie thinks that all Jewish baseball players should sit out playing today, as a show of solidarity. Greg, meanwhile, thinks that idea is not only offensive, but destructive:
I would argue, in fact, that sitting out games today when you’re not even religious could actually forward an anti-Semitic idea — that is, that Jews always remain a people apart. Being a regular player, though, does just the opposite.I know which one I chose. Not that walking into work today involved any thunderous applause. That I was aware of. Or that was audible to the human ear.
But maybe that’s because I think baseball is a force for good, and religion is, well…
Greenberg writes that while her grandfather “would not be met by the roar of the stadium crowd, he was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he walked into temple.”
I know which one I’d choose.