Israeli-Big Train baseball game skirts Tisha B’Av

Israeli National Baseball Team logo
Israeli National Baseball Team logo

By Lexi Gopin

The Israeli National Baseball Team, as part of its preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, will stop in Rockville on July 18 to play an exhibition game against Bethesda Big Train, a collegiate team.

July 18 is also the fast day Tisha B’Av, which will end at sundown.

Bruce Adams, president of Bethesda Big Train, said when he realized the game was on Tisha B’Av, he contacted local rabbis to figure out how to hold the game while respecting the holiday.

Adams said the game was originally planned for the afternoon.

Alan Sherman, an advocate for U.S.-Israeli sports relations, spoke to Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of Congregation B’nai Tzedek on how to resolve the conflict.

Weinblatt said that his biggest concern about the game being played so close to Tisha B’Av was that it would look like a celebration on the day of mourning. Tisha B’Av marks the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem and several other tragedies in Jewish history. He said he pushed for the game to start as late as possible because the holiday is meant to be somber and reflective.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to be having something with the Israeli National Baseball Team at a time which conflicted with Tisha B’Av,” said Weinblatt.

He said he suggested moving the game from the afternoon to after sunset.

Adams said Big Train decided 9:13 p.m. was an appropriate time for the first pitch. That leaves enough time for a seven-inning game.

The game will be played at Povich Field. Gates will open at 8:15 p.m., 15 minutes before sunset.

Kosher food, including a Schmaltz Brothers food truck and Attman’s Deli-Potomac, will be available for purchase at the game, said Adams.

Adams said that as of Wednesday, 730 of the 800 tickets had been sold.

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