The great Greenberg

August 26, 1999|By Ann Hornaday

Hank Greenberg was the first Jewish superstar in baseball when he played for the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s. In 1938 the Bronx-born Greenberg hit 58 home runs, just two shy of Babe Ruth's record. Washington, D.C., filmmaker Aviva Kempner, who grew up in Detroit and idolized Greenberg for his athleticism and his religious devotion (he received a Talmudic dispensation to play on Rosh Hashana but refused to play on Yom Kippur), has made "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," a delightful documentary that's been on the festival circuit since its debut last year.

Baltimoreans can see this engaging, informative film Monday at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., in Owings Mills. The program begins at 7 p.m. with a tribute to former Orioles' owner Jerry Hoffberger; the film will be shown at 8:20 p.m. Kempner, Peter Hoffberger, Mike Flanagan, Jim Palmer, John Steadman and Greenberg's son Stephen will also be on hand.

The event will benefit the education programs of the Babe Ruth Museum and the Ciesla Foundation, which explores nonstereotypical images of Jews in history. Tickets are $100, $65 of which is tax-deductible, and may be ordered by calling 410-727-1539, Ext. 3016.

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