Ike Davis to play on Yom Kippur

Updated: September 16, 2010, 11:28 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Mets rookie first baseman Ike Davis does not practice Judaism, but his mother was raised in that religious environment and their family lost several members in the Holocaust.

So when Mets officials wanted to know whether Davis planned to sit out on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which begins at sundown Friday, he was unsure how to respond.

The verdict: Davis left the decision to his mother.

She leaned toward sitting out, but told Davis to do whatever he felt was right. Davis then decided he will play in Friday's series opener against the Atlanta Braves.

Davis' father, former Yankee reliever Ron Davis, is not Jewish.

Davis, 23, indicated he originally did not intend to sit out, but when the option was presented to him, he pledged to consider it.

He suggested that if he did refrain from playing, it would be out of respect for his ancestors lost in the Holocaust and because he described himself as "culturally Jewish."

He is not the first player to face the dilemma, which is particularly difficult for players who were raised in Jewish households but are not practicing the religion.

In 2007, Mets outfielder Shawn Green sat out a Friday night game against the Florida Marlins, but played in a Saturday day game that also fell on the holy day. The previous year, Green indicated he did not have a problem playing on Yom Kippur when it fell during the postseason in October.

Why go halfway?

"I wanted to observe and recognize it, but I felt it would be more hypocritical to miss both," Green said at the time. "I didn't grow up Conservative or very religious. At the same time, I understand being a Jewish role model as an athlete. I do find it important for people to recognize their faith."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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