The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame still doesn’t have a home after being flooded out of the Jewish Community Services building last summer. But for the second year in a row, that peripatetic existence will not stop the hall from holding its annual induction ceremony.
On Sept. 21 at Congregation Rodeph Shalom on North Broad Street, the PJSHF will induct six members into local Jewish sports lore. They are:
Brent Novoselsky: a University of Pennsylvania football player who went on to an NFL career with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
Jimmy Kieserman: the Abington High School basketball standout who also played at the University of Miami and in the Maccabiah Games four times.
Brandi Millis: the Cheltenham High School basketball standout who graduated to play for the University of Richmond and then professionally in Israel.
Sarah Friedman: a four-year soccer player at Penn.
Jeff Asch: a local sports journalist and broadcaster for KYW and other stations.
The late Harry Lewis: a welterweight boxing champion who lived in Philadelphia.
Those six were chosen from a group of more than 80 nominees, according to Steve Rosenberg, the hall’s chairman.
“This year’s class is exceptional,” Rosenberg said. “We have a person that played in the NFL. We have a woman who played professionally in Israel. We have Harry Lewis, one of the great names in boxing history.”
We all know the old, often-used joke about Jews and sports. And in competition for a Jewish hall of fame, athletes are going against fewer opponents. But for the five living inductees, the accomplishment is still a highlight.
After learning of their selections, all five took a minute to reflect on what it meant.
“To be inducted to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is really special to me because my time in Philly at Penn really was some of the best times of my life, some of the greatest football days of my life. I still have many great memories and the program we built at Penn and just the tremendous teammates that I had really have just allowed me to excel and be all I could be.”
“I’m really excited to get back there and celebrate. I got some teammates coming and some family, and it’s going to be a great time.”
“It’s a culmination of everything I’ve done in my career. As long as that hall exists, my name is going to mean something — not just for athletics but Jewish athletics. That to me is really cool and special.”
“If it wasn’t for the Jewish hall of fame, I’d just be another athlete. People in our religion look up to that. Little Jewish kids at camps. People that are going to get involved in Maccabi.”
“It really justifies the background work that was put into my career. The behind-the-scenes stuff that people never really know or appreciate. It’s the hours I spent in the backyard as a kid, in the rain, in the snow, in the summer when my friends were at camp.”
“It’s a culmination of all that hard work.”
“One thing I was saying to my husband last night, we had a baby 10 months ago. I was saying to him last night that my life for the last two years has basically been all about baby. Getting this reward has reminded me of something prior to baby. Something that was so important to my life.”
“I got recruited. It helped me to get into college.”
“When they called and told me I was being inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, I didn’t know what to say and I started to cry. It means so much to be recognized for something you did for such a long period of time.”
“This is feedback that what I did for so many years, people really did hear me tell stories. I worked holidays, weekends, nights, overnights and mornings. I worked seven days a week for much of my career. But I never felt that it was a job. I didn’t know what the day would hold.”
At last year’s ceremony, the hall required people to show COVID vaccination cards at the door and to wear masks while inside. This year, there will be no such restrictions, though Rosenberg did say to stay home if you’re sick.
He also mentioned that the hall is looking into making the Kaiserman JCC in Wynnewood its new home. Rosenberg believes that it’s important for the hall to have a permanent location again.
“People are going to be able to take their friends and family and say, ‘There’s my name,’” he said. JE