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Getting the Party Started: Super Bowl Celebrated in Jtown

Jerusalem—“The truth is, the Super Bowl long ago became more than just a football game. It is part of our culture, like turkey at Thanksgiving…like those holidays beyond their meaning, a factor in our economy.” These words, spoken by former CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer, reflect a new reality in the United States: that a four-hour football championship has become a cultural icon and Super Bowl Sunday, a holiday. However, it is very difficult for those who grew up on the sound of halftime shows, the sight of the game, and the taste of the party food, but now live all-too far away, to rejoin the American Super Bowl experience. In Israel this is doubly difficult, given the seven-hour time difference and Sunday being a work day. The Americans of Israel have usually had a difficult time giving their favorite sports event its proper pomp and circumstance. Until now…

For the first time ever, The American Center of Jerusalem, a branch of the U.S. Embassy, in cooperation with The First Station and Incit.es, held its official Jerusalem Super Bowl Party. The party, hosted in heated tents in the Tachana Rishona (Jerusalem’s historic First Station), turned a four-hour football game into an overnight celebration. The festivities started at 11 o’clock at night with a live pre-game concert and comedy show, and the game itself, projected onto huge screens, began at 1:30 in the morning. Throughout the night, traditional Super Bowl fare and fun activities were available on-site, and party-goers had the option of buying VIP Box access, which included upgraded seating and unlimited beer and appetizers.

Even though the Broncos didn’t put up too much of a fight, the game, and the commercials, was enjoyed by all. In the end, partygoers agreed that what made the celebration so enjoyable was celebrating the Super Bowl en masse, with other Americans, albeit in a tent in Jerusalem.

Event Coordinator and Teaneck native Jesse Nowlin said, “The event is something that came together because it’s something we like to do together every year. This year we thought why not make it something larger and share it with the entire city? With a pre-game concert, beer pong tournament, and all you can eat/drink all night long, this event was one to remember. Over 200 people came out in temperatures almost as bad as NY/NJ to root for their teams and enjoy with Israelis and Americans alike in the biggest American game of the year! [The] game might have been a disappointment to many, but everyone at the Jerusalem Super Bowl Party had a great time.”

Perhaps, in a few years, Super Bowl Mania might hit Israel and there will be many midnight parties like those celebrated in Jerusalem…. Until then, homesick Americans and Israeli Football fans alike can save the date for the Second Annual Jerusalem Super Bowl party, February 1, 2015.

By Tzvi Silver

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