The IBL: Israel’s Shomer Shabbos Baseball League


YW-06-27-IBL-26.JPG(Click HERE for additional photos) Just to set things straight: I am not a sport person. Not to say that I do not enjoy the occasional tennis game, bike ride, or ice skate, but besides having once followed football (that’s soccer to you Americans) and being coerced into playing basketball once in a while, I have had nothing to do with the sport velt. So I was a little taken aback when I got a phone call earlier in the day asking if I could go and take pictures at a Israel Baseball League game.

While it may be a big culture shock from taking pictures of HaRav Schienberg the night before (as reported HERE on YW), I went. Being that I do not know all that much about the game, I could not appreciate it too well, though I can say that the players at least looked like they knew what they were doing.

Oh, did I forget to mention: this is a shomer Shabbos baseball league. Now that doesn’t mean that the guy who owns it goes to shul twice a year – they actually don’t play on Shabbos. Even though most of the players are not Jewish, while I was in the dugout shooting pictures, one of the batters behind me was looking for a ‘tzenter’ – and a Mincha minyan they had. Having a mehadrin steak bar there was not to bad either.

For someone who has no vested interest in sports, I actually enjoyed myself.

Written by, and Photo Credits: Yehuda Boltshauser.


  1. Only terrible things can come from a baseball league in Israel. It is only a few short years until we see problems of Shabbos, Tsnius, etc…that will come from this new breach of yiddishkeit. It is another symbol of pathetic Jews trying to Americanize themselves and not knowingly destroy the fabric of our collective Jewish souls.

  2. Sports teaches proper competition, achdus, noshei boll chavercha, team work and is a very kosher leisure activities. Maybe a “smoking league” would work better, (Ha!ha!hee! he!)
    By the way I see nothing kosher about drinking coffee, wearing jewelery, sushi eating etc….

  3. To stam a deya,
    What “terrible things” can come from a baseball game? A “breach of yiddishkeit”?? Not only is there nothing wrong with playing sports, but it is also a very good, healthy and kosher outlet and social activity. Most Rabannim (not to mention your doctor) will tell you the importance of doing excersise on a steady basis.

  4. sayitlikeitis, what do you mean when you refer to “nothing kosher about jewelery”? We find that Avrohom sent jewelry with Eliezer to give to Rivkah.


  5. I had to add in an additional thought. Maybe, baseball in Eretz Yisroel isn’t what most of us view as the best of things, however the frum world has to come up with positive and creative ways to balance the scales. Yes, it would be best of the kids who go to this game would be involved with learning. Yes it would be best to limit their envolvment of free time to simple activities. But we have to realize, if not a team that is shomer shabbos where their is an abundance of kosher food and men seen davening then what else? The kids (and many adults) will be looking for something to fill there free time better it be something like this then the average shkotzim.

    If it really does bother people, then maybe it’s time for people to think of other positive & creative ways to make learning (and yiddiskeit) more attractive. Bad mouthing situations like this isn’t going to change anything except make those who do go, more stubborn and less willing to find holier persuits.

  6. Who says there is anything wrong with “playing” sports or exercizing? I’m talking about hundreds of people sitting together (mixed of course!)drinking beer and cheering on their team. No good can from this and it is a terrible development.

  7. People don’t cease to amaze me.

    A baseball league starts in E’Y…

    …they do not play on Shabbos, they serve exclusivly Kosher food at the games, have minyanim at the games and….

    …people find ways to bash it?!?

    Mi K’Amcha Yisrael ?

  8. Culture shock after taking pictures of Rav Scheinberg????????

    An absolutely fascinating confluence of events for the author/photographer of this article.

    Little did the photographer/author know that Rabbi Scheinberg Shlita was actually a baseball player in his U.S.A. youth and was known as ” Lefty ” Scheinberg !!!

    I bet you won’t read about that in his “Making of a Godol” book !

    The author should verify my comments for himself…

  9. It’s scary when you read how many comments are “for” this kind of thing. Scary, and also sad. and sick. and frustrating. Is everyone really so blind? Yidden wake up!!!!

  10. Chaim Y – This is our way. Nothing new comes to the Yiddishe velt without first being bashed. If it’s a good thing it will survive and most people will see it as good. If it’s bad, than when it really goes bad, it will have a track racord of “hisnagdus” from day one.
    BTW, I don’t think there is anything that has developed in the Yiddishe velt over say the last 300 years or so that still doesn’t have _some_ misnagdim no matter how many call it “an alte minhag”. Just my opinion.
    (Now go bash it.)

  11. Is the Artscroll Talmud good or bad? I can argue both sides of that issue, and its been out already 10 years or so.

    Do Chassidim spend too much time doing mitzvois instead of sitting and learning? That issue is 200+ years old and we still continue to argue about it.

    Is Shomer Shabbos baseball a good thing or “scar, sad and sick”?

    Hey, there are all kinds of Jews out there in the wide world, and like it or not, many types are in Eretz Yisroel. For many it is indeed an aveirah to go to _any_ ball game. For many others, it might qualify as a mitzvah.

    Each one of us can usually figure out where it fits in our personal lives. If not, ask your Rav.

  12. When is the next game? Can you buy seasons or just shalosh regalim tickets? Most impt, will thursday evening games serve cholent…
    Kol Hakovad..

  13. Quote from Fafdichune “It’s scary when you read how many comments are “for” this kind of thing. Scary, and also sad. and sick. and frustrating. Is everyone really so blind? Yidden wake up!!!! ”

    Well I hate to say this but I have woken up and that is why I am for this baseball league. In this day and age there are so many taivos, what is a person to do, who needs something beyond the walls of the beis medrash? A lecture of how he isn’t learning or davening hard enough? Guilt about not being a good enough Jew? Better that they as well as the stam Yid who will be looking for some other diversion to be in a place that has kosher food and tznius and daily minyonim.

    What is really sad, sick and frustrating is the fact there are so many Yidden who are at risk (or beyond) because they can’t fit into a system that doesn’t seem to tolerate anything other than shades of black and white. I’m not speaking for all branches of Yiddishkeit but for the Yechidim who are quick to speak up and condem others for something they really don’t truly understand. I have been dealing with kids at risk for some time now. My pet peeve is the perseption that is given off from these comments because a group of Klal Yisroel has not been frum enough for the likes of some people. I agree that there are many people in Eretz Yisroel who should not go. But is blanket condemnation the way to go? Should a person be made to feel guilty because he went to a game? The truth is that if we all sign up to this way of thinking then we as frum Jews have no buisness being on the internet period. (yet, even those who are quick to condem have found a mutar reason to be here. Maybe it’s time to look beyond the box for them as well.)

  14. Even though most of the players are not Jewish,


  15. Post number 11 is accurate. I personally heard Rav Scheinberg tell the story of how he used to pitch in baseball games as a kid and weas called Lefty!

  16. What a total travesty this is!! And such a waste of precious time. Can you believe that someone had the chutzpah to bring baseball to Eretz Yisroel?? I can think of several more worthwhile activities that one can do, that are SO MUCH less of a bizayon:

    1. Throw rocks at passing cars on Shabbos and Yom Tov. You get your exercise, and the satisfaction of knowing that due to your efforts, your targeted victim will now never even think of becoming frum.

    2. Go around from minyan to minyan making Mi- Shebeirachs for people you don’t know, and who have never asked you to intercede on their behalf. Collect as much gelt as you can with this scam, and then go spend half of it on cigarretes. Don’t forget to blame the government for all your problems.

    3. Shnor as much money as you can from the government and exploit them for every type of contrived program you can think of, then, when they ask you for an ounce of help – righteously decline.

    I think these are far more honorable things for a Yid to be doing – NOT!

  17. Bad. No one is against playing ball as an outlet. However a “Shomer Shabbos Baseball League” is a bad idea. This is a ‘bridge’ between Shomer Torah Umitzvos Lifrstyle and the chiloni lifestyle. Think 5 or 10 years from now when it will be normal for frum kids to hang out at baseball stadiums. Find me one Gadol that is in favor of a Shomer Shabbos Baseball League. I doubt that you’ll find one.

  18. let them go for it as long they get tested for steroid use.
    also it we be a good idea for the jewish players
    to a sefer to learn in for in between innings

  19. i still cannnot comprehend why anyone would consider playing baseball a bad idea?
    as far as i know it’s just a bunch of guys (mostly all are american olim from bet shemesh and modiin)that get together and play baseball (as in the “old country”)and decided to organize it into a league. I cannot tell you what percentage is frum (although most are) but who in the world decided that “most of the players are not Jewish”??

  20. yatzmich
    There are many gedolim that would give a high five for sure for ShomShab baseball league. Check thru the gemorah where there is talk about ball playing. By the way, what were all the other activities that you were suggesting for the active male to pursue?

  21. I never said that men should not play nall. They should & I do. Just to make a “League” out of it smells of ‘neya kigoyim’ and could lead to other non kosher activities down the line. As far as asking the gedolim goes, you nrrd gedolim to guide you how to use your brain. With the wrong Hashkofoh, your brain can take you to all the wrong places. As Reb Yisroel Salanter said, “… Vinafsho moilicho shovev bilev ritzoinoi.”

  22. I hear both tztadim. It’s a nice thing that they dont play on shaabos. If anyone is interested in buying tickets to the upcoming games then please let me know: The:
    1)Geula Gorillas vs. Ramot Rattlesnakes
    2)Eilat Eagles vs. Beer Sheva Beer Holders
    3)Sorotzkin Smashers vs. Har Nof Harry’s.
    (And for the game of the week…which will be airing on Monday Night Baseball):
    4)Teveria Truckers vs. Bais Yisroel Egg Throwers
    (Look for hot prospect Shloimy Finklefried on the mound the for the truckers…He was 16-1 in Minor Katan League and had 6.13 (for the mitzvos) ERA. High ERA but had lots on run support). The game will be held at 6:30 In the Mea Shearim Garden and minyanim for mincha will be starting every 15 min after the 5th inning begins. The hot dogs are homotzi and if anyone is interested in carpooling any way then please let us know. Try not to heckle any players with the numbers 3,4,16,34,35,56, being that they are jewish and it could fall under the mitzvah of “Ve’havta Le’raiacha Kamocha”. Cheering for both teams is a minhag chassidus and according to some late late achronim, it could even grant you long life. Please look out for special nights such as “Bring your shver to the game” night or “Bobble Rosh” night. Tickets range from chai to triple chai depending on your kollel pay check. Instead of beer, there will be grape juice or shnops – please have your ID ready for when the mashgiach comes around. The seventh inning stretch has been removed due to the lack of interest from the jewish crowd. When the Netanya Robins come to play, it is not, and i repeat, it is NOT a mitzvah of shluach hakahan to scare away any of the players. On 2nd day yontif, only people who bring their israeli passport will be allowed into the ballpark. Gefilte Fish is sold throughout vendors in right field. Left field is specifically for the gebrocks eaters and they are asked not to bring any food into the rest of the field. All food is Bedatz and remember HAVE A GESHMAKA TIME! (GOSH I CAN GO ON 4ever…lol)

  23. I don’t see how one can judge so quickly and say that it’s a chillul Hashem or that it’s Assur to go to a game when they don’t know very much at all about the league. Such a perspective, ill-informed as it is, should be totally disregarded, and I can assure you that it will be. Probably, nobody who is considering going to these games will be checking this website to see if it is Kosher or not. Just in case somebody is, though, let me share with you some details about this league, as I have some experience with it and would like for it to be properly represented:
    Yes, the food is Mehadrin. There are minyanim for Mincha, and Maariv, b’zman. Sometimes arranged by fans, and other times at the request of some of the players. The players, on that note, are about 40% Jewish. Not many of those Jews are frum yidden, though there is always a frum player or two at each game – shomrei torah u’mitzvos, who need to be mispallel three times a day just like you do. The fans are calm, SOBER, and relaxed. Mostly Jewish, and lots of frum yidden with their kinder (children). There are, on average, 200-300 fans at games in Gezer, though more than 600 have come to Thursday night games. The other fields have considerably fewer fans.

    These games are a very good thing for many Jews in Eretz Yisroel. For others, it might not be as good a thing. If you are reading this article because you are curious about the league and you want to see if it is right for you to attend but you are very worried that it won’t be okay, then I suggest you ask a Rabbi about making choices and how best to do that. It is certainly not treif enough to cause your Neshoma serious damage from one game (in my opinion, of course… I cannot speak for you).

    If, however, you are only reading this article because you are a negative person who wants to put down every aspect of life that you do not deem worthy of a proper frum yid, then I suggest you sit down with a good mussar sefer, maybe Orchos Tzaddikim, and just think for a while to try to see where all of your hatred, violence, and gaivah come from, because more sinnas chinam is NOT going to do anything for bringing the ge’ula sl’leima, which is one thing that we really truly need.

    With Elul approaching, I wish all who read this a geshmaka chodesh Elul and I ask that you please consider the next ben adam – just be mindful of other people… you don’t have to help everyone you see even, all it takes is just not to be infuriated by other yidden who aren’t exactly like you. We all want moshiach, but he won’t come if we are at each others’ throats. If the members of every shul in town are united in their own shul, that’s not enough. All the shuls have to have achdus with each other, all the different Jews have to stop hating each other, not just their neighbors, but their neighbors neighbors and the Jews in the next town…

    and it begins in the home.