Chillin' Wit' Ivy Weingram
IVY WEINGRAM, associate curator at the National Museum of American Jewish History, chills over morning coffee at Federal Donuts on Sansom Street near 16th, enjoying a Sunday off from readying the "Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American" exhibit for its March 13 opening.
"I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., so I didn't grow up waiting for Opening Day or playing catch," says the co-curator of an exhibit that shows how baseball helped give Jews and other immigrants and minorities access to the American Dream.
Her husband, Josh, is a Philly guy with Phillies in his DNA. Their 4-year-old son has been swinging the plastic bat for a couple of years.
But, ironically, Weingram is the one who affectionately calls Sandy Koufax "a mensch," after the Hall of Fame pitcher lent his 1963 Cy Young Award to the "Chasing Dreams" exhibit.
"He is so kind and generous," Weingram says, smiling mysteriously when a reporter asks if she talked with him personally.
Weingram is less mysterious about Karen Zeid, who she says was "kvelling [bursting] with pride" when her son Josh Zeid realized the dream he talked about at his bar mitzvah - to pitch in the majors like his idol, Koufax.
Zeid, a 2013 Houston Astros rookie who started his career in the Phillies' farm system, lent Weingram his bar mitzvah yarmulke - which his mom stitched in red like a baseball.
Marjorie Freiman lent Weingram the baseball that her son Nate, an Oakland A's rookie first baseman, hit for an 18th-inning, game-winning single off all-time great Yankees closer Mariano Rivera last June.
Hank Greenberg's son Steve lent Weingram his dad's 1935 Most Valuable Player award.
Weingram says that Greenberg was both a Jewish and an all-American hero who left the game for four years to serve in World War II, then returned to continue his Hall of Fame career.
"My husband is very nervous that when all this is done, I'll be able to talk baseball better than he does," Weingram says, laughing. "Pretty good for a girl from Jacksonville, huh?"
- Dan Geringer