Cincinnati, OH - Chabad Rabbis Recruit Rookie Player To Help Raise Awareness For Pediatric Cancer
Cincinnati, OH - For 13-year-old pediatric cancer patient Avi Newhouse, it was the first time he had smiled in a week. So says his mother Leah of the surprise visit by Jon Moscot, 23, a rookie pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, to the young Avi in his room at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. And it was all thanks to the efforts of two Chabad rabbis, Yisroel Mangel of Cincinnati and Eli Baitelman from Pacific Palisades, Moscot’s hometown.
Chabad.org reports, that “It all began when I saw a post on social media from Avi’s mother. . .asking if anyone knew of a professional athlete who would be able to visit her son, an avid Yankees fan who could use a bit of cheering up,” Rabbi Mangel explained. “I immediately thought of Jon, whom I had been introduced to by his rabbi, Rabbi Eli Baitelman.”
Moscot readily agreed to the visit, noting he had learned the importance of visiting the sick during his years in Hebrew school at his local Chabad in Pacific Palisades.
“Chabad shaped my character to do mitzvahs,” Moscot says. “The atmosphere of love and kindness is bound to have an effect on you, no matter who you are. So as soon as I heard there was a Jewish kid in the hospital—knowing that there aren’t many Jewish athletes out there–his plight was immediately relatable to me.”
While Avi and Moscot talked baseball stats and the Yankees, they also bonded over putting on tefillin which was provided by Rabbi Mangel. While donning tefillin daily is part of Avi’s regular repertoire, Moscot admits he has failed to put on tefillin since becoming bar mitzvah. The two also recited the Shema prayer together.
Since their initial meeting, Moscot and Avi have become fast friends and keep in touch via text messaging. They are also working jointly to raise awareness for pediatric cancer, and are trying to get athletes to wear special bracelets and dress in the color gold as a show of support.
“Going through chemo tires you out, makes you nauseous, makes you weak,” Mrs. Newhouse wrote on Instagram. “Most people just see pediatric cancer as the ‘cute, bald kids running around in Disneyland,’ but trust me, it’s really not like that.”
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