A boy from the Chabad community in Arizona made the bold move of walking off the baseball diamond when an umpire called foul on his religious garment, and the solidarity shown by his teammates helped convince the ump to reverse his decision, a New York Jewish website reported this weekend.
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COLlive.com, a news service catering to the Chabad Lubavitch community, published an email from Rabbi Mendy Lipskier about the game in question involving his son Yossi, 9.
Lipskier, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Fountain Hills in Arizona, related that the trouble started during a recent game when Yossi went up to take his turn at-bat.
"As he came up to bat, the umpire happened to notice that Yossi wears two uniforms, his team uniform, and also the fringe undergarment uniform of every male Jew – Tzitzit," wrote Lipskier. "And then, for the first time, the umpire insisted that Yossi remove his Tzitzit in that it could produce some type of 'interference or unfair advantage.'"
According to Lipskier, his son is not only the only Jewish boy on the team but possibly also in the entire league.
He stated that Yossi "respectfully explained to the umpire that he is wearing a religious undergarment" and "had never had an issue with this previously."
When the umpire stood his ground, Yossi walked off the field. His teammates then "volunteered to walk off the field and forfeit the game" in support of Yossi, Lispkier noted.
The show of solidarity led the coaches and umpire to discuss the situation, after which the umpire rescinded his previous order and let Yossi resume his at-bat.
The story elicited within two days over 100 comments on the website, all in support of the boy.