How do you recognize a baseball superstar who sits out a critical game on Yom Kippur?
You make him a member of the Hillel team.
Hillel Board of Directors Chairman Randall Kaplan and Baruch College Hillel leader Inna Vernikov presented Los Angeles Dodger player Shawn Green with a Hillel baseball jersey at the recent Jewish Heritage Day at the Mets' Shea Stadium in New York.
In his remarks to Green, Kaplan said: "Shawn, on behalf of the 400,000 Jewish college students around the world, it is our pleasure to officially make you a member of the Hillel team. You are not only committed to baseball, you are committed to the Jewish community. By refusing to play baseball on Yom Kippur, even in the heat of a pennant race, you demonstrated your connection to the community and to our tradition. By requesting a trade to a community with a large Jewish population, you acknowledged the centrality of Jewishness to your life. Thank you for continually stepping up to the plate and hitting homers for the team."
An All-Star with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1999 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2000 and 2002, Green announced that he would not play on Yom Kippur in September 2001, because he considers himself "a role model in sports for Jewish kids." At the time, the Dodgers were in the heat of a pennant race in the National League and Green was a mainstay of the team. Green has been a reliable hitter, fielder and base stealer throughout his career.