More than 750 people showed up last week for Jewish Heritage Night at PNC Park, and that was just the number of Jews who actually bought tickets for the two left field reserved seating sections at the ballpark.
Good thing the Pirates cooperated by clobbering the Cardinals 9-0, behind some excellent pitching from James McDonald.
But before the Pirates ace took the mound, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh President and CEO Jeffrey Finkelstein demonstrated his own pitching prowess by throwing out the first pitch before the game.
And the Temple Sinai choir struck the right note for the evening by singing the national anthem.
The Pirates gave out a free T-shirt, which spelled out “Pirates” in Hebrew, to everyone who signed up for the evening.
Group salutes for the evening were:
• Rebecca Spiegel of Young People’s Synagogue;
• David Hirsch, president of Temple Sinai;
• Michelle Serbin of Rodef Shalom Congregation;
• Bill Lowenberger of Temple Ohav Shalom;
• Andy Weissfeld of Congregation Beth Shalom;
• Aaron Weil, executive director and CEO of Hillel Jewish University Center; and
• Jimmy Wagner of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
All the names appeared on the ballpark’s jumbotron during the game.
Jewish Heritage Night was the brainchild of Joshua Avart, the Pirates’ account executive for group sales and service.
“My dad and I used to go to Jewish Heritage Night at the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park,” Avart said. “We used to see all our friends — the whole community — there and I thought, why not bring it to Pittsburgh?”
Jewish Heritage Night will be back next year, Avart said.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)