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Sports: World Baseball Classic 2023

Meet Team Israel’s 14-year-old batboy from Baltimore

Jordan Gladstone got permission from his Jewish day school to play hooky for a week.

Jordan Gladstone, a batboy for Team Israel, and his father Adam Gladstone, who works in operations for the team, at the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2023 in Miami. Photo by Howard Blas.
Jordan Gladstone, a batboy for Team Israel, and his father Adam Gladstone, who works in operations for the team, at the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2023 in Miami. Photo by Howard Blas.

It was a muggy, cloudy day in Miami, but it was comfortable in the air-conditioned stadium with a retractable roof, where Team Israel was taking batting practice on March 13 ahead of its second game—this one against Puerto Rico following a win the night before against Nicaragua.

Adam Gladstone, who works in operations for the team, confided in JNS that his mother-in-law did not believe her grandson’s Jewish day school would offer him a week’s respite to be the team’s batboy.

Gladstone and his wife, Julie, had indeed asked Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore for permission for Jordan to serve as a batboy for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic for a week.

“She bet me $5 that Dr. Schorr wouldn’t approve,” Gladstone told JNS.

He took the bet and won. Zipporah Schorr, the school’s director of education, is proud of the 14-year-old resident of Pikesville, Md.

Jordan Gladstone, a batboy for Team Israel, at the World Baseball Classic in Miami, March 13, 2023. Photo by Howard Blas.

“What a wonderful opportunity for a Jewish day-school student to enhance his connection to Israel in a positive and meaningful way,” Schorr told JNS. “Jordan Gladstone, as Team Israel batboy, embodies a sense of pride as a strong Jew and confident BT kid,” she added, using the abbreviation for Beth Tfiloh. She also said the experience was a “true statement” of Am Yisrael Chai (“The People of Israel Lives”).

Julie is pleased Schorr and Yehuda Oratz, a rabbi and middle-school principal, supported her son.

“They said, ‘Wow, what an honor,’” she told JNS. “All of his teachers have been so supportive of this opportunity that he has been given. They are so excited for him to be representing his Jewish school as well as Israel.”

She is sure that working with a team that represents Israel on the world stage will have a lasting impact on him.

Jordan, who celebrated his bar mitzvah a year ago at the Reform Har Sinai-Temple Oheb Shalom Congregation, has attended Beth Tefiloh since preschool.

“Judaism is a big part of my life,” he told JNS on the field in Miami. He reports not being particularly observant ritually but is proud he remembers most of his bar mitzvah portion, the story of Noah. (He calls the narrative “relatable.”)

Although his parents let him look at a variety of schools, Jordan chose to study at a Jewish day school. “He fell in love with the school,” said his father. “He absolutely loves it.”

Jordan, whose favorite subjects are math, history and gym, chose Beth Tfiloh because all of his neighbors went there. “I was the last one who didn’t,” he said.

Gladstone is not surprised that his mother-in-law owes him $5. His son was also a batboy for the team prior to their 2021 run at the Tokyo Olympics.

“When he was a batboy, he thrived at school. There is mutual admiration between him and the school,” he said.

‘The place went crazy after each hit’

Jordan told JNS he loved working with Team Israel leading up to the Olympics.

“One coach in charge of physical training asked me and another kid to lead all of the stretches before a game, and were surrounded by the whole team,” he said. “We were shy.”

Jordan’s first game as Team Israel batboy this time was Israel’s come-from-behind win against Nicaragua.

“Last night was crazy. The atmosphere. The place went crazy after each hit,” he told JNS. “I got a headache.”

As batboy, Jordan gets the bat from the plate following a hit, he told JNS. “I am excited about what tonight has in store,” he said of the March 13 evening game, although Jack, son of coach Ian Kinsler, was slated to be batboy at that game.

And even though he is some 1,150 miles away from school, he is still getting a Jewish education for the week.

As he noted: “It is cool to see the different corners of the baseball world Jews come from—Israel, the minors and the majors.”

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