It's a highly unorthodox matchup. A team of local rabbis takes the field -- and takes on the world -- at this weekend's Rabbis vs. the World Softball Challenge."The Challenge pits the Orthodox Rabbis of the community -- including members of the Phoenix Community Kollel, Young Israel of Phoenix, Beth Joseph Congregation, Phoenix Hebrew Academy, and Chabad of Phoenix -- against a team of community members," explains Rabbi Raphael Landesman, NCSY (National Conference of Synagogue Youth) of Phoenix/Scottsdale. Participants pay $50 for a spot on the roster, and proceeds benefit the local chapter of NCSY.
The rabbis teamed up for a similar event earlier this year. "The game was a very closely contested affair," recalls Landesman, "with the World team eventually prevailing, 13-12, as the rabbis left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth."
"This year's Challenge promises to be bigger and better, as we are adding a second game . . . and a home run derby." Game times are 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, December 21, at Madison School #1, 16th Street and Missouri. Admission is free for spectators. Call 602-433-0300 to join the team.- Jill Koch
Way to Glow
Barrier Free Access Trail is illuminated
Zoo lights aren't the only way to brighten the holiday season. Take a leisurely hike through Arizona Horse Lovers Park on Saturday, December 20, and watch the desert glow in the light of 300 luminarias.
For the fourth year in a row, the park will transform its two-mile Barrier Free Access Trail into a radiant footpath from 6 to 9 p.m. The self-guided hike is free, but arrive by 8:30 to ensure enough strolling time.
The trail is located on the east side of the park, at 19224 North Tatum. Call 602-534-4656 or visit http://phoenix.gov/parks/phxequct.html for more details. - Ashlea Deahl
A Grapple a Day . . .
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The public is invited to scrap
Sure, folks grapple where we come from -- for the best catfish noodling spot and sometimes for the last pork chop -- but combatants in the Valley make grappling a gen-u-ine sport. This Saturday, December 20, Sprawl Fight Wear presents the Arizona Desert Quest Grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship at Westwood High in Mesa. Men, women and children are all invited to join the fray. To gi or not to gi is up to the participant. (We're not used to a dress code: It's overalls-only at our family's annual eye-gougin', cops-comin' Thanksgiving free-for-all.)
Saturday's weigh-ins for would-be warriors start at 10:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. sharp. Fights begin at noon. Spectators slap down $5. Scrappers whip out $30 for adults and $20 for children; teams get a discount. Westwood High is located at 945 West Eighth Street. For more information, call Roland at 480-446-8127. - Kim Toms