The Phillies crushed the San Francisco Giants 11-0 on May 7 while Citizens Bank Park was decked out for its 11th annual Jewish Heritage Night — a run for each year of the tradition.
Attendees enjoyed various promotional benefits, including discounted tickets and Phillies kiddush cup giveaways to the first 1,000 entrants. Kosher food was offered by professional caterers brought in from outside specifically for the evening, and there were several Jewish-themed entertainment performances sprinkled throughout the game.
Lisa Ney, director of individual and family services for Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, attended the event, chaperoning the agency’s Teen Network Group.
“We met [former All-Star shortstop] Jimmy Rollins. It was just luck, not part of the heritage night, but our group happened to be near him at one point and we got our picture taken with him,” she said. “Overall, it was wonderful for JFCS to have the chance to come together with other Jewish organizations and enjoy a fun evening at the ballpark.”
“Great togetherness as a community,” attendee Sarah Godel added.
The Shabbatones, the University of Pennsylvania Jewish a capella group, performed the national anthem before the game.
“We love working with the Shabbatones. They have done this event for us several times and they are so talented, so professional and so easy to work with,” said Teresa Leyden, manager of entertainment for the Phillies. “It was great to have them back this year.”
New this year, a group from FitMax Krav Maga conducted a pregame on-field demonstration. The practitioners sparred with the Phillie Phanatic to the delight of the crowd.
The Chai Notes, a local klezmer band, led the crowd during the seventh-inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” They sang from the newly created section of the ballpark now known as “The Yard,” located in right field in Ashburn Alley. This 13,000-square-foot interactive kids’ baseball experience center has a number of child-friendly amenities and activities.
Jewish Heritage Night is one of many special game events hosted during the season; the team also celebrates fans with Irish, Italian, Greek, African- American, LGBTQ and German theme nights, Layden said.
“The Phillies organization is very invested in doing a number of heritage nights to honor the different cultures that make up our city,” she said. “The Jewish culture is so rich, it gives us a great opportunity to dress up the ballpark. People love the kiddush cup giveaway and the various unique entertainment performances we showcase during the game.”
Keri White is a freelance writer and a Jewish Exponent food columnist.