A project that started with the hopes of bringing Olympic women's softball to Israel has ended in disappointment. Organizers of the initiative — called Ruach Shalom '08 — hoped to form a team made up mostly of American-Jewish softball players who'd make aliyah, then play in Olympic qualifying games under the Israeli flag. Although the Israeli Softball Association held practices and tryouts in various American cities throughout 2006, the group did not have enough time to complete the immigration process before the Olympic trials held this month in Italy, said Ruach Shalom '08 founder Scott Plavner.
The aliyah process would have needed to be shortened specially for the team, he added, something the Israeli government did not agree to do.
"We had major corporations and major donors ready to donate millions," said Plavner, who said that in the end, coaches selected 40 women.
Two tryouts were held in New Jersey, and teams played an exhibition game in Boston against the National ProFastpitch team, the New England Riptide, losing 3-1.
Jane Stein, a 24-year-old player from Merion, said that since the team is now defunct, she does not plan on making aliyah at this time. She also noted that it's hard to speculate on how the team would have done in international competition after playing with them for such a short time.