Attention Sandy Koufax: another Jewish southpaw is coming down the pike and he’s lookin’ real good. His name is Jason Bonder; he’s 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 205 pounds, and just played in the opening season of the Israel Baseball League for the Tel Aviv Lightning.
So what does all this have to do with JTS? Well, Jason has just begun his first year in The Graduate School, pursuing a degree in Interdepartmental Studies and taking intensive courses in Hebrew, Bible, and Jewish Philosophy. Looking ahead, he loves the variety of courses available to him and plans to take an introductory Talmud class and courses in Jewish history, as well as classes in several other areas of Jewish studies. Jason had a double major in History and Religion at Muhlenberg College, and it seemed like the perfect fit for him to continue his studies here and pursue one of his dreams: to become a professor of Jewish Studies. His other dream, of course, is playing in the major leagues. At Muhlenberg he started as a pitcher, winning the Muhlenberg College Male Athlete of the Year Award.
As Jason continues to hone his pitching prowess, he is also strengthening his Hebrew-language skills. A graduate of the Solomon Schechter Day School in Plainview, Long Island, he was happy that his Hebrew came back to him so quickly in Israel last summer. “I was able to jump a couple of levels in Hebrew placement here at The Graduate School.”
Jason also used Hebrew at the children’s baseball camps he volunteered at while in Israel. “It was great to combine my two passions. I will never forget the feeling of being on Israel's national team.” So how about next summer? He’s waiting to hear whether he’ll be drafted again in the IBL. Meanwhile he is busy with his first-year courses and using the Columbia gym to keep in shape. “It’s thrilling to be able to keep it all going.”