Phillies Host Jewish Heritage, and ‘Goldbergs’ Celebrations

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Members of Hillel at Temple University attended the Phillies Jewish Heritage Celebration on Sept. 14. | Photo provided

Adam Goldberg said it felt like Chanukah as he received one gift after another at a Sept. 15 reception at City Hall.

The area native was being honored for creating the hit ABC show The Goldbergs, which references Goldberg’s hometown of Jenkintown in each episode. He received a replica Liberty Bell from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, along with jerseys from the Phillies, Flyers and Eagles and a basket of Wawa goodies.

Later that same day, Goldberg — who attended Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park growing up — brought his entire family to The Goldbergs Night at the Phillies, where he was honored once again. It was just one night after the Philllies’ annual Jewish Heritage Celebration night.

“I did not know about that,” Goldberg said of the Jewish Heritage Celebration. “It would’ve been nice to coincide, really cool. But I never pictured my show as the Jewish show on ABC.”

Goldberg attended the event along with real-life brother Barry and actor Troy Gentile, who plays Barry on the show. Gentile threw out the first pitch. Phillies-themed video clips were shown throughout the game and William Penn Charter School students (the inspiration behind the show’s William Penn Academy) sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

The Friday-night scheduling was due to Goldberg’s busy schedule.

“I couldn’t leave in the middle of the week because I write all the episodes, and we’d have nothing to shoot,” he explained. “So we’re close [to Jewish Heritage night], the day after.”

Ideally, the Phillies would have liked Goldberg to be part of Jewish Heritage night, said Bonnie Clark, Phillies vice president of communications. “It just didn’t work out.”

For Jewish Heritage night, the Phils offered $4 discounts on tickets for those who signed up and gave away T-shirts with “Let’s Go Phils” written in Hebrew to the first 1,000 entrants. Other Jewish details of the evening included a pregame Chai Notes performance, the National Anthem performed by the Penn Shabbatones, and a Yiddish rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sung by the Chai Notes during the seventh-inning stretch. And, of course, there was the obligatory lifting of the Phillie Phanatic off the ground while “Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov” played over the PA system.

Kosher Concessions, a Chicago-based caterer that regularly services both the Sixers and Flyers, set up shop for the evening, offering kosher hot dogs, hot pastrami, Polish sausages and hot pretzels.

“I was disappointed by the turnout,” said Kosher Concessions owner Mordy Siegel, who’s had more success with his stand inside the Wells Fargo Center. The low turnout could have been due to a variety of factors, including the team’s standing and the time of year, as this year Jewish Heritage night was held later than usual.

“We try to spread the theme nights out throughout the year and balance them between all the home stands,” Phillies Director of Entertainment Chris Long said. “In the past, the Jewish Federation said they wanted it later in the year. But I wasn’t involved in making the decision.”

Jewish Heritage night is just one of the Phillies’ numerous themed evenings, including Irish, Greek, Italian, African-American, Latino and Pride nights. There’s also two “Bark in the Park” nights for dog lovers.

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