Meet the Players from Israel’s Historic Olympic Baseball Team at JNF-USA Virtual Event

NEW JERSEY, May 19, 2021 — Several players from Jewish National Fund-USA’s Team Israel, Israel’s Olympic baseball team competing in Tokyo, will virtually join New Jersey residents for a live Q&A on Tuesday, May 25. Hear first-hand accounts of what it means for this team to play on the world’s largest sports stage and learn what’s next for the future of Israeli baseball.


The majority of Team Israel’s expanded roster includes athletes who are former major or minor league pro baseball players from the United States with Jewish heritage, a common bond, and amazing stories to tell. Some players have been part of the Israeli National Team since they were teenagers. Some players are considered underdogs; they were written off by professional baseball but continued to chase their dreams and are now a few months away from a very real shot at winning a gold medal for Israel.


Eric Brodkowitz has been a pitcher for Team Israel since 2019. He was part of the core group of 10 American baseball players who made aliyah (immigration to Israel) in October 2018 to compete in the following year's European championships — starting the path to Olympic qualification. Brodkowitz pitched for four seasons at Yale University and was a unanimous selection for the 2018 First Team All-Ivy Team following his senior season.


Jared Lakind is a left-handed pitcher who first played for Team Israel in 2016 at the World Baseball Classic qualifiers. He made aliyah in November 2019 to be eligible to compete in the Olympic Games. Lakind began his professional career as a first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was later converted to pitcher. He also pitched for the Miami Marlins, in Mexico, and for the Lancaster Barnstormers. His grandfather, Alvin Lakind, briefly played professional baseball in the 1950s.


Attendees will also learn about JNF-USA’s Project Baseball initiative — which provides financial support for Team Israel’s journey to Tokyo and beyond. In addition, funds raised for Project Baseball helps build state-of-the-art baseball and softball fields throughout Israel, including Team Israel’s primary field in Beit Shemesh, brings America’s favorite pastime and “a piece of home” to the hundreds of thousands of American children and families who have made aliyah, and creates “baseball for all” — connecting Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.


Team Israel is the first Israeli national team to qualify for the Olympics since 1976.


Visit to purchase Team Israel swag and memorabilia. A portion of the proceeds will go toward JNF-USA’s Project Baseball initiative.


Event Details

What: A Grand Slam Evening with Team Israel

When: Tuesday, May 25, 2021 from 7:30 - 8:30 pm (ET)

Where: Zoom. Register at

Cost: Free to attend

Questions? Contact Celine Leeds, Executive Director, Central New Jersey at or 973.593.0095 x820




Media Contact:

Jennifer Milton

561.447.9733 x 875


About Jewish National Fund-USA

JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.