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Opening Day: Spring’s other religious holiday

Of the many names assigned to the Jewish holiday of Passover, one of the best — maybe, most hopeful — is hag h’aviv, “the holiday of spring.” I spent this past week in Cleveland, celebrating the holiday midst evening snow and near-freezing temperatures, thereby necessitating some serious meteorological-temporal-phenomenological leaps to try and ring in the new, but by no means arrived, season. Though the Jewish liturgy and tradition speak to spring, for those of who grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, Passover often played the ironic foil, laughing at our seasonal affect from the depths of biblical eternity.

What always (truly) signified spring was baseball; you knew the weather was going to get better when kids skipped class for opening day’s afternoon first pitch, even if you wore the down parka only a few days before. It is thus fortuitous, and arguably a saving grace, that both Passover and Easter fall during the last week of spring training this year. The furious overanalyzing of the starting rotation, bullpen, and outfield, paired with final calculations of home runs batted into palm tree strewn outfields, can give those of us in the north some solace.

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