CC Rabbi Has Movie Role
By Linda Silversmith
You might have the chance to see someone on the movie screen that you know and work with every day. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, a documentary detailing the major league baseball player's life, features an appearance by CC Jewish chaplain Rabbi Reeve Brenner.
Brenner, who joined NIH part-time last January, says three factors converged to lead to his screen debut. First, he grew up in New York City, also home to Hank Greenberg, whom Brenner regards as the all-time greatest Jewish player in the major league. Second, he is a life-long sports enthusiast, and last as a religious leader and teacher, he likes to think and write about ethical issues.
It was Brenner's handling of such delicate issues as race and religion that captured the attention of the film's writer-producer, Aviva Kempner. In his article, "Black Jack and Big Yid Greenberg," which first appeared almost 20 years ago in the Jewish Spectator newspaper, Brenner focused on the crossing paths of the two baseball giants, referred to by nicknames used by young Bronx baseball fans.
Greenberg was nearing the end of his major league career. Jackie Robinson was just starting his career as the first black baseball player to reach the major leagues. Greenberg, who had experienced much anti-Semitism in a decade as a public figure, was the first on his team to befriend and encourage Robinson, similarly a target of racial prejudice.
"Having written books, short stories and sermons on just this issue, it was logical for me to do the article that led to my being chosen for the film," said Brenner. "I welcomed the opportunity to talk about an exemplary man, and in particular the very special Greenberg-Robinson meeting."
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