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Chasing Dreams: Exhibit it and they will come

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Chasing Dreams

The exhibit is on display through March 5 at Congregation Avavath Sholom, 4050 South Hulen Street in Fort Worth.

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Baseball is all about dreams. Field of dreams. Big league dreams. A dream season.

And now, baseball fans can experience “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American.” The exhibit is on display through March 5 at Congregation Avavath Sholom, 4050 South Hulen Street in Fort Worth.

The exhibit depicts the story of how Jewish and other minority players navigated American culture and faced the ongoing challenges of life in the United States. It includes historic photos, films and interactive experiences that recreate the Jewish story of America’s National Pastime.

“For me the exhibit talks about the American experience, how immigrants (example, one picture of both Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio) understood that if you were going to be part of America you had to learn their games,” said Rich Hollander, organizer of the exhibit.

“And these immigrants had a large desire to be part of America. With those two heroes it proved that anyone could be a baseball player. They did not have to be just tailors, or fisherman, they could be ballplayers.”

The exhibit is part of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and is being presented by the Tarrant County B’nai B’rith Isadore Garsek Lodge. It also celebrates other well-known heroes such as Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson.

Jim Stanton, who is handling publicity for the exhibit, said Hollander got the idea to bring the exhibit when he saw it being discussed on “The Today Show.”

“Rich tracked down the folks at the museum and asked if there were a way we could get the exhibit in Fort Worth,” Stanton said. “They said, they have a smaller traveling version, and it’s here now.”

Hollander said he believes it is particularly important for young people to view the exhibit.

“It teaches tolerance, it teaches how change is possible, and it teaches about how sport – baseball in particular – can have a positive effect on society.”

The exhibit also reinforces the belief that baseball has been a melting pot for society. To get a closer look behind the scenes, there is a companion book, “Chasing Dreams.”

“Now we call them role models. They were heroes,” Stanton said. “A lot of kids today don’t understand the challenges faced by athletes, and minorities in all walks of life, really, in those times.”

At the exhibit’s debut earlier this month, former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer spoke and introduced former New York Yankees third baseman and former Fort Worth cardiologist Bobby Brown, who also once served as American League president.

Schieffer will speak again at the exhibit on Feb. 12 between 10 a.m. and noon. This is also Family Day for the exhibit.

Other events during the exhibit’s run include a Wiffel Ball Tournament on Feb. 19, along with a Kids Day, talks and films also upcoming. Contact 817-909-4354 for more information.

Cost for viewing the exhibit is $5 and children under 12 are free. Times are Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m.

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