26 Feb

Hello, again, Ladies and Geetles.  In my new role as the Director of the IAB, and, of course,  in my eternal role as the King of All Jewish Baseball, part of my obligation is to magically transform into an actual Israeli citizen, or, as it’s called in Hebrew, make “Aliyah”, and, eventually, to adopt sacred, time-honored Israeli traditions such as acting pissed-off all of the time.

An organization called “Nefesh B’ Nefesh” specializes in relocating Jews from North America and England to Israel. I have been working closely with the people at Nefesh the past month or so to get the formidable dossier of necessary documents together to make this magical transormation possible and to confirm my earthly existence; birth certificates, passports, travel and financial records, shoe size, baby pictures, letters from Rabbis, the trust fall. And finally, yesterday, I had my official Aliyah interview at the Jewish Agency here in New York.

It is true, the King of Jewish Baseball is... Jewish.

And so it is true, after all, the King of Jewish Baseball is… Jewish.

A young KOJB, and a present day KOJB.

From left to right… present day KOJB, young KOJB.

I arrived at the Jewish Agency offices and was greeted warmly with a thorough security screening before being let into the waiting room.  Soon I met my “shaliach” or “shepherd”, Asher, who will personally guide me on my journey to Israel like an unblinking camel across the stormy deserts of the Middle East.

There was a lot of activity in the office, people scurrying about, looking my way.  As is my habit, I assumed this was just typical joy and excitement generated by a visit from the King of All Jewish Baseball.  Asher shook my hand and said with a big smile in his thick Israeli accent, “Mr. Basketball, Mr. Maccabi Tel Aviv.  I expected you to be taller.”  I said, “Oh no, not basketball, BASEBALL, I am moving to Israel for baseball.” “Oh,” he said, his smile flattening, losing interest, “There’s baseball in Israel?”.

One nice thing about moving to Israel… the Israeli government pays you to do it – it’s like moving to Alaska, or the Moon Colony.

Upon landing in Israel, I will be carried on the shoulders of ecstatic men, I am almost sure, like Vince Lombardi, into a small office where I will register for my medical insurance and will be given an envelope of cold, hard Shekels – the first of 6 monthly Aliyah payments.  The money is to help me with rent and other expenses.  In addition to those 6 payments, I will be provided a one-way flight to Israel, I will receive intensive hebrew-language training, I do not have to pay tax on anything I ship, I will get a 90% income tax rate reduction for the first three years I live in the country, and, I can’t forget, I will be provided one golden palace so large as to allow my flock of 1,000 rare tropical birds of prey to fly free inside the greenhouse/courtyard surrounded by fountains made of ice and a staff of several hundred loyal robots whose sole purpose it will be to maintain the structural integrity of the ice fountains despite crushing 100 degree temperatures.

So a big thank you to Asher and to Nefesh B’ Nefesh for leading me on my way to Israel.

This is happening.

5 Responses to “BASEBALLIYAH”

  1. Jon M. February 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Are u going to have to serve in the Israeli Army for 3 Years?

  2. PainTrain February 27, 2013 at 1:36 am #


  3. Jim Eddy March 2, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    No. The king of Jewish baseball is either Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg.


  4. Robin March 5, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    As a baseball-loving American who recently made aliyah, all I can say is YAY! And thanks. Looking forward to having you here.

    • Rob Barasch March 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Hey, good luck with your Aliya. Israel’s a great place to live once you come to terms with the fact that you’ll never live in a house as nice as the one your grew up in back in the U.S.. Anyway, I came on Aliya as a teenager in ’81. I’d played JHS baseball back in NY but there wasn’t a league here back then. I started playing fast pitch a few years later (we had softball long before hardball came to the country) and I’ve had a blast with it over the years. Good luck with player development here I hope it works out!

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