Carnegie Shul Chatter – January 30, 2013

Shabbat Shalom

Candle lighting time is 5:19

Judaism and Teamwork

If you know me at all you know that I am a huge baseball fan,  Last year I attended 17 Pirates spring training games and 81 home games in Pittsburgh, a total of 98 games.  I would have made it to 100 games but I missed two games that were played on Yom Kippur.

If you follow baseball, you probably know that two of the greatest baseball stars of all time, Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg, both of whom were Jewish, refused to play World Series games on Yom Kippur.

When giving a speech, speakers often warm up their audience with a joke or two, so before I move on to my discussion for today, let me begin with my favorite baseball jokes that link baseball and religion.

How do we know that God was a baseball fan?  Well, what are the first four words of the Torah?   In the big inning, of course.

Why does baseball have a seventh inning stretch? Well, God worked six innings and then He rested, didn’t he?

God was a great baseball manager.  He had Isaac as a runner on first base and he ordered Abraham to sacrifice.   At the last moment, God changed his mind and allowed Abraham to hit away, and the rest is history.

And how about God’s big move as a general manager when he brought Moses up from the burning bush leagues?

So much for the humor.   Now for the speech.

This week I have been working at the Pirates Fantasy camp in Bradenton.  Today, I saw a plaque on the clubhouse wall at Pirates city and although it is not at all religious in nature, I thought that the message does coincide with some of the basic tenets of Judaism, or for that matter, any religion.

Religion is first and foremost about God and our relationship with Him.  But another very important aspect of religion, and a very basic part of Judaism,  is God’s desire that we care not only about ourselves, but that we care about our fellow man and that we treat one another in an ethical and moralistic fashion.

And so I share with you the contents of that clubhouse plaque.  It deals specifically with teamwork, but the message can also be applied to what our priorities should be and how we should interact with others.

Being on the Team vs Being a Teammate

Being on the team benefits your personal goals and ambitions.

Being a teammate benefits the goals and ambitions of your team and teammates.


Being on the team can make you a bystander.

Teammates intervene in the lives and actions of their teammates.


Being on the team means doing what is asked of you.

Being a teammate is doing whatever is needed for the team to succeed.


Being on the team can involve blaming others and making excuses.

Being a teammate involves accepting responsibility, accountability, and ownership of the team’s problems.


Being on the team makes you “me optic,” asking what is in it for me.

Being a teammate makes you “we optic,” asking what’s in it for us.


Sometimes players on the team are drawn together by common interests.

Teammates are drawn together by a common mission.


Sometimes players on a team like one another.

Teammates respect one another.


Sometimes players on a team bond together because of a shared background or compatible personalities.

Teammates bond together because they recognize every player is needed to accomplish the goal of the team.


Sometimes players on the team are energized by emotion.

Teammates energize one another out of commitment.

1 Comment

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One Response to Carnegie Shul Chatter – January 30, 2013

  1. Brenda Miller

    Hi Michael,
    I too am a big Pirate fan. When I lived in Pgh. we had season tickets and loved
    going to the games. I love this post and enjoy reading all of them. Keep them

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