Mica Jarmel-Schneider and his grandfather

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

A different kind of Jewish baseball documentary is in the works, and its producers need our help to complete post-production work.

Got Balz? is the brainchild of San Francisco filmmakers Ken Schneider and Marcia Jarmel, whose son Mica is the focus of the film. Struck by the poverty of children he saw playing baseball with cardboard mitts and rag balls in Nicaragua, young Mica decides his Bar Mitzvah project will be to donate baseball equipment to the poor. His chosen beneficiary is Cuba, the country that sheltered his grandfather, an Austrian refugee, during World War II when the U.S wouldn’t.

The plot thickens when Mica’s plan runs into a logistical brick wall: the American embargo against Cuba. Got Balz? follows the boy’s 3-year battle to deliver the donated equipment, culminating in his visit to the island nation last month.

(Click here to see the trailer.)

“It started as just a short film to remind families and communities that a bar mitzvah is not about parties and DJs,” Schneider told the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. “It’s an opportunity to look at what it means for a kid to start taking on some responsibility.”

The filmmakers and the not-for-profit Center for Independent Documentary are nearing the end of a 40-day mission to raise a final $40,000; as of this morning (5/8/2012), they had raised $26,720. To make a tax-deductible donation of $1 or more, click here.

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