The inspiration for the launching of Team Spirit Institute was the broad-based support for Pray Ball! The Spiritual Insights of a Jewish Sports Fan when it came out in 1999.  This support reinforced the author’s feeling that sports could, indeed, be used as a serious medium to teach valuable Jewish and universal life lessons.

Here is the book’s front cover, followed by a summary of Pray Ball! and then the back cover of the book decorated by endorsements from leading Jewish educators and sports figures.

pray ball book cover

Pray Ball! The Spiritual Insights of a Jewish Sports Fan, a first of its kind, is a collection of over 20 spiritual-Jewish messages each using sports events, figures and analogies as illustrations.  It is divided into eight chapters pertaining to the sports-related topics of : baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, sports agency , the Olympics, and leader &  heroes.

The author, Rabbi James Gordon, an attorney, community leader – –  and sports enthusiast, reminds readers of King Solomon’s Biblical teaching that without a spiritual connection, all of life’s activities are futile.  The book masterfully connects the world of sports with the world of Judaism.

Pray Ball! is a reminder that sports can indeed reinforce such important traditional Jewish lessons as respect, proper leadership, team play, fairness, philanthropy, hard work and understanding one’s limitations.  This book explores such questions as:

  • What do the “professional careers” of Michael Jordan and Moses have in common?
  • How does the competition between home run sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa illustrate proper Jewish competition? [Remember: Pray Ball! was published in 1999]
  • How is the role of a Rabbi similar to the roles of coaches and commissioners?
  • What Jewish values are taught by the special relationship between Earl Woods and his famous son Tiger?
  • What important lessons in Jewish tradition did Mickey Mantle impart at the end of his life?
  • What are some of the spiritual insights that we learn from Jackie Robinson and his courageous battle to break baseball’s color barrier?
  • How do Cal Ripken, Jr., and Jewish tradition promote the importance of passion?
  • Is it fair to expect sports figures to serve as role models?

The answers to these questions and many, many more are all her in Pray Ball! The Spiritual Insights of a Jewish Sports Fan.


Copies of Pray Ball! can be purchased at “brick & mortar” stores and on the internet at such venues as Rosenblum’s World of Judaica, Inc.,, and