The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 21 December 2002 / 16 Tevet 5763

The ''Pintele Yid''

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
What gives everyone in the field of outreach the confidence that alienated and assimilated Jews can be reached is their faith in the Pintele Yid literally the Jewish remnant residing in the heart of every Jew.

A new best-selling book, Sandy Koufax: A Leftys Legacy, written by Jane Leavy, calls attention to the Pintele Yid in a Brooklyn boy who became a hero to Dodger fans, but an even greater hero to Jews everywhere.

On October 18, 1965, this legendary Los Angeles Dodger lefty was scheduled to pitch the opening game of the World Series against the Minnesota Twins. Koufax was not observant and did not even have a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. But he refused to pitch that day because it was Yom Kippur.

Koufax became a hero for all Jews, even those with the remotest connection to their heritage. One example of his influence is cited by the author in the preface to her book. She was covering the U.S. Tennis Open for the Washington Post in 1983 on Yom Kippur. Then she remembered that 18 years earlier Koufax had declined the opportunity every American kid dreamed of. I have not worked on the High Holidays since, she writes. Sandy Koufax had made himself at home in my soul.

The Pintele Yid.

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