EDITOR’S UPDATE (11/3/2010): Two months after this post appeared, the editors of a publication called Jewish Sports Review obtained permission from Boston Red Sox OF Ryan Kalish to include his name in future editions. Based on this development, Jewish Baseball News has decided to begin covering Kalish as well. Click here for more information.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — When a Boston Red Sox rookie named “Kalish” went 2/4 in his MLB debut on July 31 and hit a grand-slam HR two weeks later, Jewish baseball fans around the world asked: Could he be one of ours?

Jewish Baseball News looked into it. And although we were unable to reach Ryan Kalish, his parents were kind enough to take our call.

The short answer? If you thought a player named “Kalish” might be Jewish, your instincts were partly right. Ryan’s father, Steven Kalish, is Jewish. But Ryan’s mother, Eileen Kalish, is Catholic, and she raised him her tradition. Ryan was baptized, confirmed, and sent to Catholic high school. “I fulfilled my guilt,” Eileen kidded.

The Kalishes do light the Chanukah candles, she added, along with decorating the Christmas tree. But “the high holidays and everything, we don’t do that, and we don’t go to church.”

Sending Ryan to Catholic school didn’t exactly have the intended effect. “I think it made him question faith even more,” Eileen said. “He thinks there’s something up there, but he’s not sure what.”

“(Ryan) doesn’t identify strongly with any religion,” Steven Kalish said later. Steven himself was bar mitzvahed and was “really into it.” Or at least until 7th grade, when he discovered sports.

Naturally, Steven is elated at Ryan’s success. “It’s tremendous. It’s a thrill. What else can you say?” he said. “Hopefully he can help (the Red Sox) win a few games.”

We at Jewish Baseball News certainly hope so. And we thank the Kalish family for their openness, especially on such a personal topic.

Our ruling? Ryan Kalish: not a Jew.