The Spy Behind Home Plate

2019, USA, Documentary, 101 minutes, English

Director:  Aviva Kempner

Screening Thur 8/6 at 7 pm to Sat 8/8 at 7pm

Zoom Conversation with Aviva Kempner, Rabbi Jack Shlachter & Rob Lennick: Sun 8/9 at 3pm

The Spy Behind Home Plate is a documentary about Morris “Moe” Berg, an enigmatic Jewish catcher during baseball’s Golden Age who joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to spy for the U.S. on the Nazis’ atomic bomb program. Berg grew up in an immigrant Jewish family in Newark, N.J., attended Princeton University and received a J.D. from Columbia University during his off-seasons in baseball. He played professional baseball from 1923 to 1939 for the Brooklyn Robins, Chicago White Sox. Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox.

Award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner tells the real story of Moe Berg, major league baseball player turned spy.

In this first-ever feature-length documentary about the enigmatic Berg, Kempner again focuses her camera on a little-known Jewish hero. From the streets of Newark to five major league teams during baseball’s Golden Age to his secret life spying for the OSS during WWII…Berg’s improbable story is told with rare historical footage and revealing interviews with family and an All-Star roster from the worlds of history, sports and spy craft.

Guest Speaker Rabbi Jack Schlacter: After receiving his PhD in physics from the University of California at San Diego, he was hired full-time at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in northern New Mexico where he spent the bulk of his scientific career.  For nearly two decades subsequent to his June 1995 ordination, while simultaneously working as a scientist at LANL, he provided part-time rabbinic support to the Los Alamos Jewish Center (LAJC). He's now Rabbi Emeritus at the LAJC, and he served as Rabbi at HaMakom: the Place for Passionate and Progressive Judaism in Santa Fe, until fall, 2019, when he and his wife Betty relocated to eastern Long Island, New York. He is honored to currently serve as the rabbi of the Jewish Center of the Moriches in Center Moriches, New York, while working at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Zoom Conversation Sun 8/9 @ 3pm with Aviva Kempner, Director

Aviva Kempner will discuss her reasons for making this film and answer your questions. Joining her will be: Dr. RabbiJack Shlachter, esteemed nuclear physicist and rabbi, and Rob Lennick, rabbi and executive director, Jewish Federation of NM, whose beloved home team, Boston Red Sox,  was one of Moe Berg’s baseball stints.


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