Veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway pens children's book about how playing for Israel brought him closer to Judaism


September 22, 2023

(JTA) — When Ryan Lavarnway joined Team Israel for the World Baseball Classic in 2017, the journeyman catcher chose jersey no. 36 not because of the number stitched onto the back, but because the shirt fit him best.

But in the years since that tournament, any time Lavarnway has represented Israel, he’s stuck with 36, which holds meaning as a multiple of 18, a number that signifies life in Jewish tradition.

That choice is emblematic of Lavarnway’s experience with Team Israel, one that he says has changed his life. It’s also the inspiration for a new children’s book, which hits shelves today, wr...

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