Documentary about Team Israel’s baseball success to open in NJ

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A story that surprised the sports world is now the subject of a documentary film opening in theaters in New Jersey this week.

“Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” is about the team’s unexpected success in the World Baseball Classic in 2017.

The film follows a group of American players - professionals who played in the majors or Triple-A - who were eligible to be on the Israeli team because they are of Jewish descent. Many of the players were visiting Israel and connecting with their heritage for the first time.

The documentary was co-created by filmmaker Jeremy Newberger and two other directors.

“The fact that it was a team assembled of Jewish ancestry, largely unpracticed and not observant, but all the same Jews, it gave them a little more fight, a little more passion, I think,” Newberger says.

The team became known for its mascot, the Mensch on the Bench, and for playing hard and playing with heart. The team placed sixth in the World Baseball Classic.

The movie opens at theatres in Montclair and Tenafly on Friday.

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