Lower Merion Synagogues Men's Softball League
Mazel Tov in
May 18, 2010
The following tributes are in honor of a cousin lost at the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. Zavie Lischin was a member of the 101'st Infantry Paratroopers better known as the Screaming Eagles. The Band of Brothers is about his unit. The following are my favorite stories from World War 2.The first story is about Dr. Ben Salomon Medal of Honor recipient, Evan Berson's Idol. Benjamin Lewis Salomon (September 1, 1914 – July 7, 1944) was aUnited States Army dentist during World War II, assigned as a front-line surgeon since there were no equivalents of today's advanced paramedics. When the Japanese started overrunning his hospital, he stood a rear-guard action in which he had no hope of personal survival, allowing the safe evacuation of the wounded, killing 98 enemy troops before being killed during the Battle of Saipan in World War II. In 2002, Salomon posthumously received the Medal of Honor Ben Salomon was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 1, 1914. He graduated from Shorewood High School and attended Marquette University. He was an Eagle Scout; one of nine who also were awarded the Medal of Honor. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Southern California (USC). He graduated from the USC Dental College in 1937 and began a dental practice. In 1940, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and began his military service as an infantry private. In 1942, he was notified that he was to become an officer in the Army Dental Corps—he was commissioned a First Lieutenant on August 14, 1942. In May 1943, he was serving as the regimental dental officer of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1944. In June 1944, Salomon saw his first combat—going ashore on Saipan with the 105th Infantry. With little dental work to do during active battle, Salomon volunteered to replace the 2nd Battalion's surgeon who had been wounded. As the 2nd Battalion advanced, the casualty numbers were high. On July 7, Salomon's aid station was set up about 50 yards behind the forwardfoxhole line. The tent was filling with wounded and soon after, Japanese soldiers began to enter the tent. Salomon was able to fend off the enemy in the tent and ordered the wounded to be evacuated while he stayed behind to cover their withdrawal. Days later, when an Army team returned to the site, Captain Salomon's body was found slumped over a machine gun, with the bodies of 98 enemy troops piled up in front of his position. His body had 76 bullet and many bayonet wounds, up to 24 of which may have been received while he was still alive.
The long road to the Medal of HonorCapt. Edmund G. Love, the 27th Division historian, was one of the team who found Salomon's body. At the request of Brig. Gen. Ogden J. Ross, the assistant commander of the 27th Division, Love gathered eyewitness accounts and prepared a recommendation for the Medal of Honor for Captain Salomon. The recommendation was returned by Maj. Gen. George W. Griner, the commanding general of the 27th Division. Officially, Griner declined to approve the award because Salomon was "in the medical service and wore a Red Cross brassard upon his arm. Under the rules of the Geneva Convention, to which the United States subscribes, no medical officer can bear arms against the enemy." In addition to a possible bias, the guideline for awarding the Medal of Honor to medical non-combatants states that one may not receive the Medal of Honor for actions in an "offensive". More recent interpretations of the Convention, as well as the US Laws of Land Warfare allow use of personal weapons (i.e., rifles and pistols) in self-defense or in defense of patients and staff, as long as the medical soldier does not wear the Red Cross. Part of the problem in Salomon's citation was that a machine gun is considered a "crew-served", not an individual weapon. Prior to Salomon, only two Jews were awarded Medals of Honor during World War II and none for Korea. Many more were refused under questionable circumstances, possibly including Salomon's. Among them were Pfc. Leonard Kravitz (uncle and namesake of the pop star Lenny Kravitz) and Corporal Tibor Rubin, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2005. In 1951, Love again resubmitted the recommendation through the Office of the Chief of Military History. The recommendation was returned without action with another pro-forma reason: the time limit for submitting World War II awards had passed. In 1969, another Medal of Honor recommendation was submitted by Lt. Gen. Hal B. Jennings, the Surgeon General of the United States Army. In 1970, Stanley R. Resor, Secretary of the Army, recommended approval and forwarded the recommendation to the Secretary of Defense. The recommendation was returned without action. In 1998, the recommendation was re-submitted by Dr. Robert West (USC Dental School) through Congressman Brad Sherman. Finally, on May 1, 2002, President George W. Bush presented Captain Ben Salomon's Medal of Honor to Dr. Robert West. Salomon's Medal of Honor is displayed at the USC Dental School. The Army Medical Department, at this point, was supportive.
Medal of Honor citationCAPTAIN BEN L. SALOMON
UNITED STATES ARMY For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment’s 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions’ combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties. In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon’s aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded. He then saw a Japanese soldierbayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier. Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
The next Hero that I wish to introduce everyone to is Barney Ross the toughest Jew whoever lived.
Barney Ross (born Dov-Ber "Beryl" David Rosofsky; December 23, 1909 – January 17, 1967) was an American professional boxer. Ross became a world champion in three weight divisions and was a decorated veteran of World War II.
Early life The young Rasofsky grew up on Chicago's mean streets, ultimately ignoring his father's admonition that Jews do not fight back. "'Let the goyim be the fighters,'" Ross later recalled being told by his father. "'The trumbeniks, the murderers – we are the scholars.'" Ross's ambition in life was to become a Jewish teacher and a Talmudic scholar, but his life was changed forever when his father was shot dead resisting a robbery at his small grocery. Prostrate from grief, his mother Sarah suffered a nervous breakdown and his younger siblings—Ida, Sam and George-were placed in an orphanage or farmed out to other members of the extended family. Dov and his older brothers Ben and Morrie were left to their own devices. In the wake of the tragedy, Dov became vindictive towards everything and turned his back on the orthodox religion of his father. He began running around with local toughs (including another wayward Jewish ghetto kid, the future Jack Ruby), developing into a street brawler, thief and money runner; he was even employed by Al Capone. Dov's goal was to earn enough money to buy a home so that he could reunite his family. He saw boxing as that vehicle and began training with his friend Ruby. After winning amateur bouts, Dov would pawn the awards—like watches—and set the money aside for his family. There is speculation that Al Capone bought up tickets to his early fights, knowing some of that money would be funneled to Dov. Plagued by his father's death and feeling an obligation not to sully his name, Dov Rosofsky took the new name "Barney Ross." The name change was also part of a larger trend by Jews to assimilate in the U.S. by taking American-sounding names. Strong, fast and possessed of a powerful will, Ross was soon a Golden Gloves Champion and went on to dominate the lighter divisions as a pro. At a time—the late 1920s and '30s—when rising Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was using propaganda to spread his virulently anti-Jewish philosophy, Ross was seen by American Jews as one of their greatest advocates. He represented the concept of Jews finally fighting back. Idolized and respected by all Americans, Ross showed that Jews could thrive in their new country. He made his stand against Hitler and Nazi Germany a public one. He knew that by winning boxing matches, he was displaying a new kind of strength for Jews. He also understood that Americans loved their sports heroes and if Jews wanted to be embraced in the U.S. they would have to assume such places in society. So even though Ross had lost faith in religion, he openly embraced his role as a leader of his oppressed people.
Boxing careerRoss occupies the rarifed place as one of boxing's few triple division champions—lightweight, light welterweight andwelterweight. He was never knocked out in 81 fights and held his title against some of the best competition in the history of the divisions. Ross defeated great Hall of Fame champions like Jimmy McLarnin and Tony Canzoneri in epic battles that drew crowds of more than 50,000. His first paid fight was on September 1, 1929, when he beat Ramon Lugo by a decision in six rounds. After ten wins in a row, he lost for the first time, to Carlos García, on a decision in ten. Over the next 35 bouts, his record was 32–1–2, including a win over former world champion Battling Battalino and one over aboxer named Babe Ruth (not the baseball player). Another bout included former world champion Cameron Welter. Then, on March 26, 1933, Ross was given his first shot at a world title, when he faced World Lightweight and Light Welterweight Champion and fellow three division world champion club member Tony Canzoneri in Chicago. In one night, Ross became a two division world champion when he beat Canzoneri by a decision in ten rounds. It should be pointed out that Ross campaigned heavily in the city of Chicago. After two more wins, including a knockout in six over Johnny Farr, Ross and Canzoneri boxed again, with Ross winning again by decision, but this time in 15. Ross was known as a smart fighter with great stamina. He retained his title by decision against Sammy Fuller to finish 1933 and against Peter Nebo to begin 1934. Then he defended against former world champion Frankie Klick, against whom he drew in ten. Then came the first of three bouts versus Jimmy McLarnin. Ross vacated the Light Welterweight title to go after McLarnin's Welterweight Championship and won by a 15 round decision, his third world championship. However, in a rematch a few weeks later, McLarnin beat Ross by a decision and recovered the title. After that, Ross went back down to light welterweight and reclaimed his title with a 12 round decision over Bobby Pacho. After beating Klick and Henry Woods by decision to retain that title, he went back up in weight for his third and last fight with McLarnin and recovered the Welterweight title by outpointing McLarnin again over 15 rounds. He won 16 bouts in a row after that, including three over future WorldMiddleweight Champion Ceferino Garcia and one against Al Manfredo. His only two defenses, however, on that stretch were against Garcia and against Izzy Jannazzo, on points in 15 rounds. In his last fight, Ross defended his title on May 31, 1938 against fellow three division world champion Henry Armstrong, who beat him by a decision in 15. Although Armstrong pounded Ross inexorably and his trainers begged him to let them stop the fight, Ross absorbed the abuse and refused to stop or go down. Barney Ross was never knocked out in his career and was determined to leave the ring on his feet. Some boxing experts view Ross's performance against Armstrong as one of the most courageous in history. Some believe that Ross's will to survive every tough fight on his feet had to do with his understanding of his symbolic importance to Jews. That is, Jews would not only fight back, but they wouldn't go down. Ross retired with a record of 72 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws and 2 no decisions (Newspaper Decisions: 2-0-0), with 22 wins by knockout. He was ranked #21 on Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.
World War II
Drug addiction and recoveryDuring his recovery at the hospital from his wounds suffered in that battle, Ross developed a habit for the morphineadministered for pain. Back in the states, the morphine became heroin. This habit became so bad he would sometimes spend $500 a day on the drug. Ross went to a recovery center and beat his addiction. He gave lectures to high school students about the dangers of drug addiction.
Final daysRoss spent his last days using his celebrity status in promotional work for casinos and other businesses. He remained with his second wife Cathy Howlett, although they never had children. He was happy he reached the two goals he had set: reunite his family and become a world champion in boxing. He wrote an autobiography titled No Man Stands Alone. He also remained loyal to his friend Jack Ruby and testified as a character witness on Ruby's behalf at his trial for killing Lee Harvey Oswald, who was under arrest for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Ross died in his hometown Chicago when he was 57 years old. His relatives include Yuri Rasovsky, Solomon Rosowsky and Baruch Leib Rosowsky.
HonorsRoss was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame, the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. The Aleph Zadik Aleph chapter located in Chicago's South Suburbs, (primarily in Flossmoor, Homewood, and Olympia Fields), is named in his honor and memory. Filmmaker and actor Sylvester Stallone paid tribute to Ross in his 2010 multi-star blockbuster The Expendables, about a group of mercenaries who undertake a mission to overthrow a South American dictator. Stallone had co-written, directed and starred in the motion picture. His character is named Barney Ross, in memory of the late fighter.
Biographical filmRoss's boxing career, World War II heroics, subsequent drug addiction and recovery are depicted in the film Monkey on My Back. MY FAVORITE STORY FROM THE CIVIL WAR Benjamin Levy, Medal of Honor, The Civil War
Tribute to Mom
May 10, 2012
I know there is a lot of s@#$ that we as ball players take for playing on mother's day. It is a battle that is fought every year since I first began playing 46 years ago. Unfortunately, the battle will still be waged long after I am gone. There will never be an end to this debate. So here lies my tribute to my mom for mothers day.
Dear Mother, I want to wish you a very special mother's day because for the first time in my life I can use the pen and paper (computer really) to express my deep appreciation and love for what you did for me.
You gave me life and built a warm, caring and loving nest for me to live in. You provided for me so well that I took for granted a better quality of life than most of my peers had. Most of all, you gave me that proper nurturing that defines ones character much later in our lifetime. I thank you for all of this and I know it is because of what you did for me I now do for my daughter. You showed me the right way. Only recently I realized that you were also my biggest fan and supporter. You felt the hurt that I felt even though at times it was difficult to explain. You cryed when I cryed because my disappointment brought tears to both of us. When I was passed over for awards you felt the sadness and pain that I felt and held a grudge that I wasn't capable of. You were my protector. I appologize for not realizing it then. But I do now.
Most of all you supported me in the many things that I loved to do offering me encouragement to excell. I love to play sports and whenever I had a game you were there to watch and root me on. You knew where every baseball field was in the city and with your cozy, fold up chair, you always had a front row seat to my expoits on the diamond. You were there to applaud and support my playing (even on mothers day) and there to wipe away the tears that ran down my face when I lost. You scheduled your schedule around my games and made sure my uniform was clean for every game. Along with dad you were my biggest fans....my only fans. I thank you for that and for everything else you did for me.
So on this mothers day I play for you. Not for my enjoyment but to honor you. I will play with the integrity, dignity and respect which you instilled in me. I will play as a true sportsman and encourage my fellow teammates to do so as well. My uniform will be clean and I will look immaculate. There will be no disagreements with an umpire or opposing player and I will represent our family with pride.
So here's to you mom and if I were to drink I would raise my glass and salute my biggest admirer and supporter on this special day. I love you and I am sincerely thankful that you are my mother.
Avram of Lincolnshire
April 30, 2012
My favorite President of the United States is Avram of Lincolnshire. Yes there was a Jew who was the 16th President. He had no declared religion but yet was the most religious leader the United States ever had. He descends from 5 generations of Abraham, Isaac's, and Sarah's, along with Jacob's, Mordechai, Rebecca's and Rachel's. The geneology trail shows all being named after the deceased. He was named for his deceased grandfather who was killed fighting the Indians on the Kentucky wilderness. His uncle Isaac killed the Indian before he could kill his father Thomas (age 5). He descends from the second largest Jewish enclave in Britain (Lincolnshire, England). His birth mother Nancy dies when he is young and a new mother Bethsheva takes her place. He abhors slavery and becomes a legal fighter on behalf of the people and as religious as he appears in his writings and speeches, he never feels comfortable in any church. But it is the following recitation of the Shema that gives my theory creditability.
"Connecticut Congressman H. C. Deming recalled that once when “the conversation turned upon religious subjects, and Mr. Lincoln made this impressive remark: ‘I have never united myself to any church, because I have found difficulty in giving my assent, without mental reservation, to the long, complicated statements of Christian doctrine which characterize their Articles of Belief and Confessions of Faith. When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership,’ he continued, ‘the Saviour’s condensed statement of the substance of both Law and Gospel, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church will I join will all my heart and all my soul.”5 My grandmother told me there was a Jewish President. That was in 1963. Of course I am refering to the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln. Maybe I will be the next Jewish President.
Wilhelm Frankl - Jewish Fighter Pilot, WW I, German Luftwaffe
Wilhelm Frankl was a fighter pilot in the German Luftwaffe during World War I who amassed 20 victories and won the Blue Max, making him a German war hero
Wilhelm Frankl - German Luftwaffe Born: December 20, 1893 - Hamburg, Germany
Died: April 8, 1917 - Fields of France
Wilhelm Frankl was one of several Jewish fighter pilots who fought in the German Luftwaffe during World War I, although he was the most famous of the bunch. During his career he amassed an impressive 20 victories.Frankl's most famous exploit involved shooting down four enemy aircrafts in one day, April 6, 1917. The first was shot down at 2:30 a.m., while the following three took place during that same day. At the time aircrafts were in their infancy and their militaristic use was even newer, so night victories were exceedingly difficult and unique. As the result of his accomplishments he was awarded Germany's Pour-le-mérite(nicknamed the "Blue Max",) which is comparable to the American Medal of Honor, and he became a national hero in Germany. He died on April 8, 1917, when his airplane, an Albatros D.III, broke apart while flying over France near Vitry-Sailly. This was just two days after his most lethal day.
Thank You Cousin Stan
April 16, 2012
Growing up in Allentown Pa., I never really had much opportunity nor interest in going to Connie Mack Stadium. It was dirty and crummy. We hicks were frightened by the neighborhood, parking was at your own safety risk, and besides the Phillies were usually god awful. Except in 1964. It was my cousin Stan's birthday and uncle Max was taking all of us cousins to the Phillies game on a Sunday afternoon. Since I was the youngest at 8 years old, I don't remember much. I think there was a big Schmidt's and Ballantine Ale signs. Was it Bill Campbell or By Saam calling for a Ballantine Blast? By the way, what was a beer and did it give you the extra energy to hit a monster home run? Who new. But that day, the Phillies were playing the Chicago Cubs and I loved the cubbie patch the team had plastered on their uniforms. They were the teddy bears, soft and cuddly. The Phillies lineup had Jim Bunning, Clay Dalrymple, Wes Covington, Tony Taylor, Richie Allen, Johnny Calison, Cookie Rojas and Tony Gonzales. The Cubs had Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Ernie Banks. My problem was that my favorite color was blue and the cubs colors were blue. Oy, next thing you know I wanted a blue baseball hat. A Cubs hat....for a dollar. Oy veh. The answer was no. I can't have that blue hat and wear it if you are in our family. No way said cousin Stan. Not allowed. But I wanted to imitate Ernie Banks. No way. But I look good in blue. Not going to happen. Yeh, but I am the baby and the littlest one. Who cares, you're not that cute. My big cousin laid down the law. The Philly law. The only acceptable team paraphernalia you can wear is the Phillies!!!!! Get use to disappointment kid, it comes with the territory. We Philly fans have to live with it, rooting for our home teams and always getting let down at the end of the season. Choking, being ineffective, turning glory into disaster, all the same. We suffer!!!! So there was no baseball hat that day. My cousins wouldn't let me wear or buy that cubbies hat. Not if I wanted to stay in the family. And of course I wanted to stay in the family. So I never did get the hat. But 21 years later I met the great Ernie Banks at a baseball convention and I told him the story. He smiled at me and reached into a bag (not a first base bag either) and pulled out a baseball. He signed it and said to me "How about we make this very special?" Huh, what are you talking about? He signed the ball for me and told me to read it all. Not only did I have his signature but he inscribed "It's so nice, let's play two." That ball sits on my desk 25 years later. The joke is on cousin Stan though. The next year I was able to get a blue baseball hat that I could proudly wear and that NO cousin would dare challenge my allegiance. It was a Dodgers hat and I wore it because of my favorite baseball player of all time.....Sandy Koufax. By the way, blue is still my favorite color and I do look best in blue hats.Please share any other Connie Mack rememberances on the site.
Scott Plavner spiels on...
March 8, 2012
I started the league to accomplish a few important tasks. The first was to create interest in a men's club for each synagogue. I believed this would develop a strong bond and create lasting friendships within a team environment and maybe the players would develop chemistry. I hoped that this would flow and spread throughout the synagogue.
The second was to build and promote that harmony and camaraderie within each men's club, thereby attracting new members who would enjoy the sportsman's positive experience. Growth or organizing is one of the most difficult problems that face our shuls. Wanting to be with these guys and hanging out, or being proud to be identified by our synagogue, was of importance to me.
Next was to galvanize each team into making a difference within their community. Going out and making a difference within our community....or as I like to call it "Improving the quality of life within our community." For more than a decade I have held shabbat services at an elderly home and providing a kiddush. The funds that we raised from the league paid for it. There are many within reach who want to celebrate Judaism but because of age and convenience they are lost by the religion. Bringing Judaism to them is important and especially when it is in their final chapter of life.
The last was to build a bridge and connect all of the various communities into a giant network all working and supporting each other.
I am very proud of what we have all accomplished. There is not a league in this country that has ideals nor the brotherhood that we share. We have succeeded and have made a difference within our communities and for all that we have done and for the spirit that our league possesses, congratulations to each and every participant. PLAY BALL!!!!!!
Early Major League Baseball - Jewish Ball Players
Who was the first professional baseball player? No, not the Who's On First in the classic Abbott & Costello. No, it is not Harry Wright of the Cincinatti Red Stockings (an apparent connection to a feared group of Union soldiers made famous in "the Outlaw Josey Wales"). He is commonly considered the first pro. No, it was nobody from the infamous New York Elysians, the first baseball team ever. Believe it or not (and only known from intense research) the man hailed from right here, a local Jew, Nate Berkenstock. He played for "the Athletic Club of Philadelphia" and was payed for his first game in 1863. Supposedly he was the best and his rivals would have been Union troops and Abner Doubleday. Harry Wright won't be paid until 1869. Nate, was shrewd and before his time. He commanded greenbacks (or maybe gold nuggets). In 1866 the Athletic Club of Philadelphia signed a fellow "hebrew" Lipman Pike from Brooklyn for $20 a week. Together with Berkenstock they formed a formidable foe. Pike became the Babe Ruth of his era leading the first professional league with 4 home runs in each of the 1871-1873 seasons. Hitting and fielding left handed, he was originally the 2nd baseman but had to switch to the outfield as the game progressed. Here are some other early Jewish players who I believe wore a Philadelphia uniform:Erskine Mayer 1912, Henry Bostick 1915, Heinie Scheer 1922, Joe Bennett 1923, Alta Cohen 1934, Morrie Arnovich 1936, Phil Weintraub 1938, Eddie Feinberg 1938, Sam Naham 1942, Richard Conger 1943, and Harry Shuman 1944.
Copyright 2013 - Lower Merion Synagogues Men's Softball League | Website by FreeTeams.net