The Arty Semite

30 Days, 30 Texts: 'Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy'

By Will Schneider

  • Print
  • Share Share

In celebration of Jewish Book Month, The Arty Semite is partnering with the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) and the Jewish Book Council to present “30 Days, 30 Texts,” a series of reflections by community leaders on the books that influenced their Jewish journeys. Today, Will Schneider writes about “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy” by Jane Leavy.

One of the seminal moments in the formation of my Jewish identity was when the Dodgers’ ace pitcher Sandy Koufax elected to skip the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Since I wouldn’t be born for another 16 years, I owe a debt of gratitude to Jane Leavy’s biography of Koufax, “A Lefty’s Legacy,” which I read when I was in my early 20s at the height of an identity crisis.

I had been struggling alone with my Judaism, trying to balance what I thought were the conflicting realities of self-identifying as Jewish while steering clear of anything that felt observant. Leavy makes it clear that the non-observant Koufax, who didn’t go to services that day, didn’t intend to make one of the most influential statements of the 20th century about Judaism in secular society. Still, his skipping game one resonated with me 40 years later. I later learned that I was not alone, and realized that there are more options than being traditionally observant or nothing at all.

In my role as director of Slingshot, I have been exposed to hundreds of projects that serve a generation of Jews who feel the way to keep Judaism alive is to make Jewish life meaningful. Sandy Koufax’s refusal to pitch reminded me that “being observant” can mean anything, provided it is meaningful to you. “A Lefty’s Legacy,” while not about Sandy Koufax’s Judaism, is the most influential Jewish book I read in my early 20s search for Jewish meaning.

As Director of Slingshot, Will Schneider oversees all aspects of the production of the Slingshot guide, runs the accompanying Slingshot Fund, and manages networks of finalists, evaluators, and next generation investors. Before joining Slingshot, Will spent four years working for Changing Our World, Inc., a large, international philanthropy consulting company. As a consultant, Will developed an expertise in creating and executing fundraising strategic plans for a variety of nonprofit clients. While consulting, Will also founded and developed a community and network for young professional fundraisers called The Future Leaders in Philanthropy (FLiP). Will received a BS from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University in 2003.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sports, Will Schneider, Sandy Koufax, Slingshot, Jewish Book Month, Jane Leavy, Jewish Book Council, JESNA, Dodgers, Books, Baseball, A Lefty's Legacy, 30 Days 30 Texts, World Series, Yom Kippur

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.