|Ron Hoenig MP and Michael Rom (dressed as a Haredi Jew)|
It was wonderful to share the Jewish Festival of Purim at a family event where the Jewish Communities of Coogee and Maroubra Synagogue came together dressed in costumes to celebrate Purim.
Purim is a Jewish holiday that is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther and commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in ancient Persia where a plot had been formed to destroy them.
"The Book of Esther tells how the evil Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus planned to kill all the Jews in the empire, but his plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther who had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing."
The customs of the Jewish people on Purim throughout the world involve; donating to charity to the poor, exchanging gifts of food and drink, eating a celebratory meal, hearing the Scroll of the Book of Esther read publicly, drinking alcohol, wearing costumes and masks, and public celebration.
I decided for my costume to wear the baseball strip of the Redfern Red Sox presented to me recently by its President, Dominic Zahra.
Redfern Red Sox, as reported in the South Sydney Herald in April 2012; was established about 4 years ago as "....an Indigenous baseball club in the Redfern area. The plan was to introduce mostly Indigenous as well as non-Indigenous children to the game of baseball. “I saw how the establishment of a baseball club in the inner city would encourage team spirit and build self confidence” reports Shelly Zahra in the April 2012 edition of The South Sydney Herald.
After a lot of planning and making sure the baseball club would be viable, it came together with two Indigenous players, Darren Moss and Dominic Zahra, who together recruited a small group of people who went on to find the players.
They started by going down to The Block in Redfern and throwing a baseball around with the locals, working with Baseball NSW running clinics for the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy as well as introduction to baseball days at local schools like Our Lady Of Mount Carmel and Alexandria Park Community School.
In 2011 Redfern Red Sox registered in the Ryde Hornsby Baseball League. A local school, Alexandria Park Community School, let them use part of their playground as their “home ground”. The Redfern Red Sox were born! They were humble beginnings with not enough money for team shirts (red t-shirts were made do in the first season). They still managed to place our first representative player and have a team finish runner-up in the southern division – tribute to our local talent and dedication of the club’s volunteers."
The work of volunteers like Dominic Zahra, his family and others, and how they are working with the indigenous community through baseball is inspiring. Wearing the Redfern Red Sox strip to a Jewish Festival that celebrates victory over persecution, I thought, was befitting the occasion.