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Free "On the Map" film screening Oct. 23

Before there was the miracle on ice, when the U.S. beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey semi-finals, an underdog Israeli basketball team toppled the four‐time defending Soviet Union team in 1977 and put Israel firmly on the map. For everyone who loves a sports Cinderella story, this film is for you!

The Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center will sponsor a free screening of award-winning director Dani Menkin’s latest film “On the Map” (2016, 78 minutes) on Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m. at the JCC of Syracuse, 5655 Thompson Rd. in DeWitt. “On the Map” is a fast-moving and awe-inspiring documentary which recounts the story of the underdog ’76-’77 Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team that defeated the Soviets.

The screening is part of this year’s Syracuse International Film Festival which runs from October 19–23. A question and answer session featuring Menkin will follow the film.

“I am thrilled that the JCC is once again sponsoring one of Dani’s films in the festival,” said JCC of Syracuse Executive Director Marci Erlebacher. “With so many diverse and imaginative films being presented, this year’s festival looks to be another blockbuster hit.”

During the 2014 Syracuse International Film Festival a screening of Menkin’s film “Is That You?” was sponsored by the JCC of Syracuse. “Is That You?” was filmed in Syracuse over a four-week period in 2012 using several local actors and production staffers.

In the 1970s amidst tense times in Israel’s history, a miracle happened. 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. The national mood was gloomy.

And then there was Maccabi!

“On the Map” chronicles this miracle which happened 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. After Israel defeated the Soviets they then went on to defeat Italy in the finals, and won the historic European Cup Basketball Championship title. When the team returned to Israel, 200,000 fans were celebrating in Tel Aviv to welcome them home.

Leading the Maccabi Tel Aviv team was University of Illinois all-American and captain Tal Brody from New Jersey. Alongside him were American Jews Lou Silver, Bob Griffin and Eric Minkin; as well as Idaho-born Jim Boatwright, the team’s top scorer; and Aulcie Perry, a 6-foot 10-inch center whose stalled pro career in the U.S. led him to Israel.

“On the Map” features interviews with the American and Israeli athletes who made history. The film combines the pulse-pounding action of a high-stakes basketball game with an incendiary political situation during the Cold War.

The JCC’s sponsorship of “On the Map” is funded in part by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Central New York. For more information on this screening and all of the Syracuse International Film Festival’s October 19–23 events, call 315-671-2188 or visit