My father, Rabbi Chaplain Abraham Avrech, z’l, passed away on March 15, 2014, which the Jewish calendar translates into the 13th of Adar. Thus, last night — Jewish holidays begin after sundown — commenced the fifth Yahrzeit, memorial, without my father’s physical presence in this world. My father was 94 years old when he died.
He is gone, but he is certainly not forgotten.
I ponder the astonishing trajectory of my father’s life. Born in a tiny impoverished Polish town, my father and his family emigrated to America where they found the liberty to live as Jews and Americans.
I still remember the day when I heard that Sandy Koufax refused to pitch a World Series opening game because it was Yom Kippur.
It was, to say the least, something of a shock. We, baseball mad yeshiva kids, knew that the great Southpaw was a Jew from Bensonhurst, but we also knew that he was not observant. In fact, Koufax never even had a Bar Mitzvah. Shock was quickly replaced by pride as this assimilated Jewish superstar made a very public stand for, what we saw as, Torah values.
He is gone, but like all veteran’s certainly not forgotten.
Take a moment to ponder the enormous sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes and their families.
The baseball field is a study in fearful symmetry.
Absent players, the field can be read as an abstract work of art. There are the green and brown fields of color bisected by sharp white lines and three small white squares. The gently sloping mound faces home plate creating a uniquely American geography.