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Team Israel’s baseball players were also filmmakers for a new documentary about their 2020 Olympic run

(JTA) — When a group of mostly American Jewish baseball players arrived in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, they had multiple responsibilities.

First among them was to represent Team Israel in its first-ever Olympic baseball outing. Many of the players were new Israelis, having obtained citizenship just to satisfy Olympics eligibility rules.

But they were also tasked with making a movie about their experience. A documentary had followed Team Israel’s Cinderella run in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and the filmmakers wanted to make a sequel. But there was a catch: No media was allowed in the Olympic Village in Tokyo, due to strict pandemic restrictions.

Instead, the filmmakers distributed small cameras to the players to document their own experience. The result is the new documentary “Israel Swings for Gold,” which premieres Saturday at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

“It was sort of amazing, because they got stuff that we never would have gotten, had we had cameras there,” Daniel A. Miller, one of the filmmakers, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The intimacy that is offered, these moments where they win, and even when they lose, their sort of daily experiences with antisemitism.”

The official movie poster for “Israel Swings for Gold.” (Courtesy Ironbound Films)

Miller is one third of the team behind Ironbound Films, the production company that made “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel.” He said the reception of that movie had surprised him.

“‘Heading Home’ had this huge following that we never expected,” he said. “People loved seeing these players who grew up playing baseball through high school, through college, and they never really explored their faith so much. Their faith was baseball.”

The sequel follows the team from their Olympic qualifier in New York through their citizenship process, visiting Israel and ultimately playing in Tokyo. Ironbound was able to shoot all the footage in Israel and in the United States, but once the team arrived in Tokyo, the players were on their own.

Miller said making the film with the help of the players was “supremely interesting” — and that the resulting perspective widened the series’ lens on what it means to be an Israeli ballplayer.

“It was moving on to what being Israeli meant — associating with Israel and all its problems, and having to identify on a world stage with Israel,” he said.

The film includes moments like the moment of silence held during the opening ceremony to honor the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

It also shows the Israeli players being turned down by other countries’ athletes for the traditional Olympic pin-swapping — a detail that did not grab headlines at the time, but which corresponds with experiences that Israeli athletes have had on other stages.

Because it is shot largely by the players, the documentary takes on a real behind-the-scenes feel throughout — especially during scenes in the players’ Olympic Village dorms, where they cut each other’s hair, make TikToks and spend most of their time shirtless.

After its Atlanta debut this weekend, Miller said the film will be shown at Jewish film festivals across the country, including in New Hampshire and at the Gold Coast International Film Festival on Long Island. The documentary will also have a theatrical release, beginning in South Florida next month.

Miller said his team plans to make its next sequel at the 2023 World Baseball Classic, which takes place in Miami next month.


The post Team Israel’s baseball players were also filmmakers for a new documentary about their 2020 Olympic run appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Obituaries

Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN

Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

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Bill Maher tells it like it is when it comes to what “the river to the sea” really means

Bill Maher cuts to the chase like no one else. Here’s a link to a segment from the most recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” where he exposes the total hypocrisy of the “useful idiots” everywhere chanting “from the river to the sea”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP-CRXROorw

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Local News

Jewish community holds solidarity rally November 25

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg held a rally in support of Israel on Saturday evening, November 25.

A number of speakers addressed the crowd of 800, including Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun-Herzlia Congregation; Members of Parliament Ben Carr & Marty Morantz; Yolanda Papini-Pollock of Winnipeg Friends of Israel; Paula McPherson, former Brock Corydon teacher; and Gustavo Zentner, President of the Jewish Federation.

Ben Carr

Click here to watch Ben Carr’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crfREGNRKfg

Marty Morantz

Click here to watch a video of Marty Morantz’s remarks: https://studio.youtube.com/video/zHzC-iaqivg/ed

Gustavo Zentner

Click here to watch a video of Gustavo Zentner’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3M_cCYuLgs

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