why do they have competetive baseball leagues?
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The conflict in the first chapter isn't between Jews and Gentiles rather than between conservative and liberal Jews. They play these philosophical battles out on the baseball field. The two Jewish sects fight a metaphorical battle over assimilation on a baseball field, one of the most prominent symbols of the dominant American culture. Furthermore, the reason that both teams play softball is to combat prevalent stereotypes of Jewish culture; thus both teams attempt to modify their behaviour to fit the expectations of American culture.