Happily, baseball season has finally begun. For the next seven months, our boys in those iconic red “sox” (spare me about those boys in pinstripes!) shall begin their marathon to reclaim the World Series championship after two seasons in the basement. Headline-making, individual accomplishments will be achieved, and records shall be broken. So, too, shall errors be made, excessive runs be allowed, and every game will not result in a victory. But make no mistake, baseball is a team sport. Without a synchronized balance of hitting, pitching, and defense, no team prevails, despite the individual talent it may field on a daily basis.
Our Rhode Island Jewish community similarly must operate as a cohesive unit if we are to stay vital and relevant for decades to come. Together, we must continue to find ways to educate, innovate, advocate, and (no pun intended) renovate. Financial resources must be invested and allocated wisely; and strategic planning must be visionary, so that our philanthropic dollars and initiatives achieve maximum impact. Affiliation with our synagogues and agencies, not to mention community-wide volunteerism, must also be encouraged, and barriers to participation must be completely eradicated, so that we will be better prepared together to meet the ever-changing needs (and desires) of our community members. Each of us, too, shall make errors. (We, like baseball players, are human.) And sometimes the fruits of our labors will take seasons, if not years, to materialize. But, if we do not collaborate together, the actualization of a strong, nurturing Jewish community simply cannot be achieved.
Unlike baseball teams, our greater Rhode Island Jewish community neither has an off season nor an exhibition season: every day counts! All of us need one another to achieve a collective whole that is so much richer, both spiritually and resource-wise, than would be remotely possible were each of us to function as a confederacy of competing individuals. Myopic optimist that I am, I always see three run homers and never called third strikes.