Ralph Branca, Ebbets Field, 1951

My father, born and bred in Brooklyn and a lifelong Dodgers fan (until they decamped to L.A., that is), forwarded this article to me about Ralph Branca’s recent discovery of his Jewish roots. And for good reason.

One, I’m blogging daily about Holocaust issues in the present day. And two, there were too many coincidences not to.

Ralph Branca, best known for pitching the ball that Bobby Thomson smacked into the stratosphere to become “the shot heard ’round the world,” recently found out that his mother was Jewish. And per Jewish law, any person whose mother is Jewish, is also Jewish.

Branca also found out that most of his mother’s family were killed by Nazis.

This news must have come as quite a shock to Branca who has lived as a devout Catholic for all his 85 years. The closest he came to Judaism as a child was when he was the “Shabbos goy” who lit the stove for his Jewish neighbor, Mrs. Lichtenfeld .

OK. Now for the coincidences. His mother’s maiden name is Berger. That’s my husband’s surname. His mother was from the Hungarian part of Slovakia. My husband’s father was from the Hungarian part of Slovakia. Maybe we’re related? If my father had known this from the get-go, maybe he would have given a bigger dowry (yes, I’m kidding).

Advertisements