web analytics
August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

When Real Life Intrudes On Baseball

Irwin Cohen

Irwin Cohen

Readers of my monthly Baseball Insider column may have noticed its absence last week (the column appears in the second issue of every month). The reason for that is I have something more serious and personal to share with you, something that didn’t seem appropriate for a baseball column.

Throughout our wedded years (over 43 and counting), my wife, Davida, frequently reminded me that I “don’t live in the real world.” Maybe so, as I worked in my home dugout, researching and writing while watching DVDs of those great old kosher television shows.

I also spent a lot of time in the toy department of life, working in and writing about baseball. I really had no complaints as I reached the seventh inning of my years. Hashem had sent me mostly fastballs down the middle. Oh, there were a few curves, such as hernia and cataract surgeries. But nothing that kept me on the disabled list for long.

I was a pretty happy camper, living in the greater Detroit Jewish community and having my daughter, son-in-law and seven grandchildren around the corner. But about 20 months ago we got a beanball aimed right at our heads. Our daughter, Mrs. Chana Goldfein (our only child), then 38, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Surgery and chemotherapy followed and things looked good, according to the medical team. Last November, however, the disease returned and spread to the brain. Luckily, a hospital close to our community is one of the best in the country in that field.

We were planning on spending our first winter in West Palm Beach’s Century Village and meeting other residents of the growing Orthodox enclave there but we postponed the trip. Then we received wonderful news: The treatment had been successful and Chani was given a clean bill of health.

We were elated and left for Florida in January. We quickly adjusted to the warm Florida weather and the even warmer people in Century Village and the adjoining Aitz Chaim shul. But a few weeks later we learned that Chani was back in the hospital.

Our daughter didn’t tell us; she wished to spare us the worry. We were alerted by others. Chani assured us they were just running tests and told us to stay in Florida. But a conversation with her doctor strongly hinted that we should return.

Back home we learned that the cancer had spread in the brain and to the liver and spine. It was hard to digest the reality of the situation and even harder to see our daughter in great pain.

The Detroit Orthodox community was already providing daily meals for the family and carpools to the yeshiva and Bais Yaakov for the grandchildren. Now it pitched in even more and women volunteered to stay in the hospital room all hours of the night (including Shabbos) so we could go home to sleep.

People offered words of encouragement, insisting that Hashem can perform miracles. Yes, we knew miracles happen. But it was clear to us that Hashem wanted our daughter and was speeding up the process.

I often had silent conversations with Hashem, “reminding” Him that my daughter was a righteous, humble, person with a beautiful smile. She was the mother of seven children, the youngest only three. I would tell Him that if He cured Chani, people would recognize it as a great miracle and it would be a major Kiddush Hashem.

Meanwhile, Chani underwent ten more brain area radiations. After it was determined that nothing more could be done for her, she spent the last three weeks of her life in a hospital bed in the family room of our home. The community arranged for two nurses to tend to her needs on a daily basis.

Eight hours after her passing, the funeral was held at the community-owned funeral home where she worked part time and where her husband, a rabbi, was also employed.

Shiva was a blur; a neighbor estimated that a thousand people came. That number seems high, but it was possible because my son-in-law, Rabbi Yisroel Goldfein, is well known locally and in Cleveland where he spent many years learning in Telshe Yeshiva. Leaders of the famed yeshiva and other rabbis and old friends from Cleveland made the three-hour drive. People also came from New York, Lakewood and Baltimore.

All of my grandchildren’s teachers and many of their classmates came, as did others from the community. My wife, who for decades taught fourth-grade boys in the English department of two of the local yeshivas, had many visitors. Add in the few that came because of me, and indeed it may have amounted to a thousand.

The house is quieter now, except for Shabbos when the Goldfeins eat here and the younger grandchildren sleep over. We’re adjusting to the new normal, realizing that when you get a beanball from above you have to get back into the batter’s box and go on with life.

Chani made us proud. She was an outstanding daughter, a brilliant student, a devoted wife and mother. It was hard to find a dry eye in the large audience at the funeral. Our friend and her boss, Rabbi Boruch Levin, executive director of the funeral home, spoke emotionally and well. Rabbi Dov Loketch, a longtime friend and neighbor and rabbi of the shul where I had served as president, also spoke. I thanked the community for its chesed and said we were comforted in knowing Chani has a very special place in a special place.

If you’re interested in seeing and hearing the 25-minute funeral, go to HebrewMemorial.org and search for Chana Goldfein.

About the Author: Author, columnist, and public speaker Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and worked for a major league team, becoming the first Orthodox Jew to earn a World Series ring. His column appears the second week of each month. He can be reached in his suburban Detroit area dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “When Real Life Intrudes On Baseball”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
Sen. Cotton to Visit Israel for More Ammunition against Iran Deal
Latest Indepth Stories
Ben Cohen

Corbyn leading the Britain’s Labour Party polls, describes Hamas & Hizbullah as England’s “friends.”

PA Chairman Abbas proudly celebrating with released terrorists.

The convicted murderer was released from Israeli prison with more than two dozen other sociopaths

New Israel Fund

JCF is a donor/supporter of The New Israel Fund which supports BDS & wants IDF soldiers prosecuted

Moshe Feiglin

The ‘Peace Industry’ promotes its adherents; weak leaders, both military & political, is the result

The conundrum for US Labor Zionists: Lobbying for Iran deal while Israel’s Left lobby’s against it.

What does the Torah want from our small nation described as “they who struggle with God & with men”?

Mr. Nadler’s support for the deal is a naked political gift to a president who has defied logic in his quest to reinvent international affairs according to his ideological inclinations.

In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument:

BDS activists are not shy about discriminating against Israelis simply because they are Israelis –

A Federal Ct Judge ordered the PA to post JUST $10 million due to interfering letter from State Dept

Osakwe, like many other students at the CAMERA conference, described an extremely hostile campus environment when it comes to the issue of Israel.

Many people view a letter or manuscript by a chassidic rebbe or the Chofetz Chaim as intrinsically holy.

Key Iran Lobby figures had been major donors to both Biden and Kerry when they were in the Senate,

Abbas’ resignation has now sparked speculation about who will fill his place if and ‎when he leaves

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-logo-NEW

By 1943 both Rosenthals were serving in the armed forces. Both used chutzpah and bluffed about their age.

Baseball-logo-NEW

Gray played the outfield better than most players with two hands.

While David was impressed with his great-uncle’s past, he was working on his own life and future path.

The New York Giants’ Jewish catcher thrilled Giants fans by hitting for the cycle.

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

The big news this spring is that the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will be leaving their old spring homes north of Port St. Lucie and moving south to a beautiful new complex scheduled to open in two years in West Palm Beach.

A famous face from that first ’52 Topps set was Alvin Dark, who died in his South Carolina home recently at 92.

As the years flew by, one thing remained constant in Sid’s life – the New York Yankees.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/when-real-life-intrudes-on-baseball/2013/05/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: