Monday, April 9, 2007

True Blue Jew

I left religion out of today's story about a 91-year-old Dodger devotee because it really wasn't germane. But it is worth a mention.

Of course, to many Americans, sports are religion. But Nettie Berkson's Westside apartment isn't decorated like it belongs to someone who will attend their 50th consecutive Dodgers home opener today. It has no room filled with True Blue memorabilia, and the family didn't even take photos at the games until her great-grandchildren started attending four years ago.

Instead, her living room walls are lined with her childhood menorah, her father's shofar and a large portrait of her father deep in Torah study.

Nettie was the only one of 12 children born outside Poland -- in Chicago -- and she grew up a loyal Cubs fan. Every Friday, she would ditch school early to catch the El to Wrigley Field. Back then, the Cubs played all their games during the day, which was fortunate for an Orthodox Jew like Nettie who had to be home before the Sabbath candles were lit Friday at sundown. Wrigley Field added lights in 1988, but the Cubs still play every Friday home game at 1:20 p.m.

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