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Miracle on Hardwood, On the Map

Tags: Living Israel

by Diane Kushnir Halivni

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Movie poster: Miki Berkovich and Tal Brody with European Cup Trophy, April 1977

I first had the pleasure of meeting award-winning Israeli film writer, director, & producer Dani Menkin in Chicago back in December 2011. We reconnected at a Maccabi Tel-Aviv exhibition game in October, 2015. With basketball in the air, Dani told me about his new project, On The Map, a dramatic, never-before-seen film about an underdog Israeli basketball team that toppled a giant and united a nation. Did I ever hear of it, he asked? I was nodding. “You mean the Tal Brody story? Yes, I’ve heard of Tal Brody, but I don't know the whole story… “

On the Map is a fast-moving and awe-inspiring documentary by award-winning Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin. It recounts the story of the underdog ’76-’77 Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team who toppled the four-time defending Soviet Union, putting Israel firmly on the map.

At the time, the young State of Israel was struggling in the wake of several international tragedies– the devastating murders of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1976 raid on Entebbe and multiple political scandals. In the wake of all the turmoil, Maccabi Tel Aviv was exactly what the country needed.

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Team Reunion, 2015. Top row: Moti Aroesti (7), Lou Silver (12), Aulcie Perry (8), Shuki Schvartz (5), Kneeling: Miki Berkovich (9), Tal Brody 96), Coach Aryeh Davidescu.

On February 17, 1977, throughout Israel, streets emptied and restaurants went dark. The entire nation gathered in their homes to watch, on Israel’s one and only TV channel, the European League semi-finals against the mighty Soviet Union. Leading the Maccabi Tel Aviv team was University of Illinois All-American & Captain Tal Brody from New Jersey. Alongside him were American Jews Lou Silver, Bob Griffin and Eric Minkin, as well as Jim Boatwright and Aulcie Perry.

When Brody’s team triumphantly defeated the Soviets 91-79, Brody shouted to the world in Hebrew: “We are on the map, and we are staying on the map, not only in sports, but in everything!

The team then went on to defeat Italy in the finals on April 7, 1977 and won the historic European Cup Basketball Championship title. When they returned to Israel, 200,000 fans were celebrating in Tel Aviv to welcome them home.

The film honors American and Israeli heroes, mesmerizes fans of the game, and glorifies the spirit of a nation victorious against all odds.

After hearing this heart-pounding movie synopsis, I immediately joined the On The Map team to help market and fundraise for the film! This positive story about Israel must be told!

Watch the trailer and hear from those who were a part of this story. Its very easy to help us make this film! Won’t you join us?

ON THE MAP Trailer from Katahdin Productions on Vimeo.

We have a fundraising goal of $75,000 for music rights, archival fees and production costs. All donations to Katahdin Productions (a 501c3) are tax-deductible. Every donors’s name will be listed on the end credits of the film!

Dani Menkin and Tal Brody were in Chicago recently and delighted the crowds with their enthusiastic presentation. “It’s not about the basketball,” Tal reflected, “It’s about what the basketball did for the country and for Jews all over the world.”

Click HERE to donate online or checks may be sent to:
Katahdin Foundation (dba Katahdin Productions)
P.O. Box 2218
Berkeley, CA 94702

On The Map is available for bookings at film festivals across North America. Contact Katahdin Productions for more information (info@katahdinproductions.org).

Thank you, Israel Forever for sharing this story.

Any questions, please be in touch with Diane by clicking HERE.

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Diane Kushnir Halivni is a Chicago-based Jewish educator, fundraiser and idea developer who loves Hebrew, Israel and Innovation.





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