August 3, 2021 - Despite some thunder rumblings from the heavens, August 3 turned into another terrific night for baseball.  The JCC league office is so infatuated with your Black Hats that they demanded we play two games.  Our first contest was versus BBYO and then, like last week, we faced semipro Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid.  The first game was our closest of the season; take away one inning and we played to a draw.  Rabbis like to stress the difference between charity and Tzedakah; while we should give Tzedakah on a regular basis, the Black Hats need to learn to be a bit less charitable to our respected opponents (this seems to run counter to our very giving nature).  Most importantly, nobody got hurt and there were many smiles/laughter on this night.

Around the horn: pitcher Avner (Jake) Lechter; the two Joels, Altman-Shafer and Winston, catcher; Cheski Edelman (welcome back) and David Iancu, first base; Yossi Bassman and David Iancu, second base; Josh Liberman, shortstop; Andrew Gorman, third base; and Ross Abrams, Sam Smulyan, Levi Shmotkin, and Yossi Duboff in the outfield.  Sender Kittner also made his season debut.  I want to give a “shout out” to Ross Abrams who may have played in his season finale.  In his rookie season, Ross solidified the outfield and provided our lineup with some speed.  Thank you, Ross; we look forward to next season with you!

A few stellar moments: Avner smashed a two run homer!  Levi had several RBIs; Andrew and Josh both had sparkling unassisted putouts; Sam had yet another spectacular diving grab in the outfield along with two RBIs; and Joel Winston made an exciting putout at the plate which prevented a run from scoring.  To further entertain the fans and in the spirit of the Olympics, an impromptu bat throw contest happened during the first game; Cheski Edelman won the gold medal and David Smulyan received the silver.

Faces in the bleachers included Mitch Spector and Arlene Domnitz, Sara Abrams, and members from the Kittner, Cabrera, and Avner Lechter families.  As always, thank you for your support.

This week’s Black Hats spotlight shines upon Josh Liberman.  While most spotlights this year have focused on the many Black Hats newcomers we have been fortunate to welcome, Josh contacted me over a decade ago to ask about joining the team.  Now THAT is dedication! 

Josh grew up in Sharon, MA.  He is a highly regarded cardiologist with Ascension Columbia Saint Mary’s.  Josh and his wife Lindy have three kids: Hannah, Nathan and Leah.  Josh and his family have been fixtures at the Shul for many years.  They enjoy taking family trips, especially to new places; unfortunately, their trip to Israel was cancelled last summer due to COVID.

Josh’s favorite foods are vegetarian: beans, lentils, and broccoli.  He eats a plant-based diet, very healthy for the heart which can help treat or even prevent many chronic diseases.  Josh is an assistant coach for his son’s travel baseball team; Josh admits he sometimes gets jealous seeing his son play regularly and this is another reason he enjoys his time with the Black Hats.

Josh has played a variety of positions for the Black Hats (possibly everything except pitcher); this year, he has particularly excelled in the infield.  He is an excellent contact hitter who shows flashes of power.  Josh has played in most games this season and is a strong presence both in our lineup and with our comradery.  Personally, I think this has been Josh's best season with us.  Josh, thank you for all that you do!

An impromptu kid’s match took place after our games with all participants getting on base.  Our farm system continues to thrive; in ten years we will be unstoppable!

Next week’s game is at 6 PM at Brown Deer field #2.  Come join us and see why the JCC wants more Black Hats!