The following article, published in the Jewish Exponent, interviews several Mekor Habracha members that went to the game:
Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies filtering into Citizens Bank Ballpark on Tuesday night were greeted by a sea of blue and white.
Israeli flags flapped in the wind and traditional Jewish tunes played on the public address system — two of the more prominent hallmarks of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s annual Jewish Heritage Night at the Phillies. The event, taking place during the Fightin’s series against their cross-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, also doubled as a belated celebration of Israel’s Independence Day.
Several area camps, Jewish agencies and the Consulate General of Israel to the mid-Atlantic Region hosted an array of stands outside the stadium in advance of the game.
Soft pretzels and the classic Israeli crunchy snack Bisli were dolled out for free, and children played basketball, soccer and gaga, the Israeli dodgeball-like sport imported to the United States.
Eitan Gerber Schneiman, an 8-year-old from Center City who was with his father, said that attending Jewish Heritage Night as a Jewish Phillies fan “feels pretty good. It’s really fun.”
“We’re very excited that so many people have come out from all walks of Jewish life as well as some of the many agencies we work with throughout the year,” said Naomi Adler, Federation’s CEO, taking a moment from fencing with a Maccabi USA staffer at their booth. “Its a really exciting opportunity to highlight what they do as well as celebrate Israel and our Jewish heritage.”
Though the lackluster Phillies ultimately lost the game by a dismal score of 7-2, many Heritage Night attendees stayed the whole nine innings, enjoying a kosher food concession and listening to Jewkebox, a Jewish a capella group from Temple University, sing the national anthem.
Later in the game, Adler joined Jewkebox on the field to dance the horah with the Phillie Phanatic, the team’s loveable green mascot.
“Our love for Judaism and baseball” brought us out here tonight, said Susanna Ratner, a member of the Center City Orthodox synagogue Mekor Habracha, who was in attendance with her husband, Michael. “And free swag,” he added jokingly.