Time for a kosher hot dog and a beer and Dodger Baseball May 20 2015
Spring is upon us. The seders are over, the Iran problem endures. Romance is in the air and, with romance, some men’s and women’s hearts turn to baseball.
I dutifully bought my season-ticket package of 40 games to Dodger Stadium — 40, not 81, because I don’t attend on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Yet again I will feel ignored by the Dodgers, perhaps even scorned.
It has been three years since the team changed management, and the McCourts are thankfully gone. We have a better team, more exciting players — even if you need a scorecard to know who they are — and given all that, one can hope that yet another world championship banner will soon fly over Dodger Stadium.
But frankly, there is no excuse for why, after three years, Dodger management can’t accommodate the religious dietary needs of its Jewish and Muslim fans.
Despite the tension in Jewish-Muslim relations internationally, Muslims will eat meat that has been slaughtered according to Jewish law, and through this, we both remember again what we are too often prone to forget — we are all children of Abraham. We can be united in rooting for the Dodgers, and are united in our deep disappointment that we are both taken for granted by the Dodgers, who have failed for so many years to offer kosher food at the stadium.
The New York Yankees offer kosher food. So too their cross-borough rivals, the New York Mets.
The Baltimore Orioles offer kosher food.
The Boston Red Sox offer kosher food in a ballpark that is now more than 100 years old.
The Chicago White Sox offer kosher food, and so too their crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cubs in vaunted Wrigley Field.
The Cleveland Indians offer kosher food.
The San Diego Padres offer kosher food. Los Angeles has six times as many Jews as that city to the south.
The Washington Nationals offer kosher food; our Jewish community is three times larger.
The Kansas City Royals offer kosher food; their Jewish community is less than one-tenth our size.
Even the hated San Francisco Giants offer kosher food at AT&T Park.
The Seattle Mariners offer kosher food; even the Milwaukee Brewers offer kosher food.
The Dodgers make Chinese food and Italian food and even “healthy food” available for sale, but only once a year, when a special appeal is made to the Jewish community, are kosher hot dogs available.
So, one has to wonder why the Los Angeles Dodgers — whose city’s Jewish community is the second largest in the United States, 600,000 strong, and whose Muslim community is also growing — can’t accommodate the religious needs of their fans.
I’ve heard the excuses: Farmer John has an exclusive. Dodger Dogs are special, so I am told. There is a simple solution — let Farmer John develop a kosher line or license a kosher line to be carried in kosher and halal stores, or make a religious exception to their exclusive contract as they permit once a year.
There has to be a way — three years is a long time to wait. The O’Malleys should have done it. Fox should have done it. The McCourts should have done it. We’ve waited long enough. Solve the problem.
Michael Berenbaum is professor of Jewish studies and director of the Sigi Ziering Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Ethics at American Jewish University. Find his A Jew blog here.